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Voices for Progress Project February, 2009 Administered by American Family Voices Message Handbook for Progressives from Center to Left: How to Talk about.

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Presentation on theme: "Voices for Progress Project February, 2009 Administered by American Family Voices Message Handbook for Progressives from Center to Left: How to Talk about."— Presentation transcript:

1 Voices for Progress Project February, 2009 Administered by American Family Voices Message Handbook for Progressives from Center to Left: How to Talk about Gay Rights

2 January 3, 2014 The following are progressive messages on gay rights that test strongly in representative national samples. Each message provides a brief narrative that summarizes an often complex position in five or six sentences, usually including a tagline that captures its essence, indicated in bold. Messages were developed through 3 rounds of qualitative and quantitative research which tested them against strong conservative messages. All data presented are derived from survey research of likely voters, developed over the following phases: Focus Groups: 8 groups among swing voters and weak partisans testing various message concepts and language. Internet panel survey of national likely voters (June 11, 2008): In 2 online surveys respondents heard conservative and progressive messages delivered by a Republican and Democratic candidate, respectively, in an audio format. Along with other measures, respondents rated messages in moment-to-moment dial testing, which helped identify which elements resonated the most. (N = 405 respondents per message tested.) Telephone survey of national likely voters (October 5, 2008): Respondents heard conservative and progressive messages on a variety of issues delivered by a Republican and Democratic candidate, respectively. They were then asked to rate each message and vote for the candidate whom they preferred based on the message. (N = 412 respondents per message tested.) Project Summary and Methodology

3 January 3, 2014 Survey Results of a Strong Progressive Message Marriage is an age-old religious institution, which many people consider a covenant with God. And the government has never forced Catholic priests to marry divorced people, and it's never going to force Baptist ministers to marry gay people. We need to respect the rights of religious institutions to decide who they will and won't marry. But we're all equal in the eyes of God, and we should all be equal in the eyes of the law. In this country, we don't discriminate against people in the workplace just because they're black, white, male, female, gay, or straight. If someone's in a long-term committed relationship, it's none of anybody's business who it's with when they apply for a job or sign up for health benefits. It's time we stopped turning a personal issue into a political one and trying to tell people what kind of relationships they can and can't enter into.

4 January 3, 2014 Survey Results of a Strong Progressive Message Marriage in our culture has long held both religious and legal meanings. We need to respect the values and religious beliefs of those who are uncomfortable with extending the word marriage to same-sex relationships. At the same time, as Americans, we are committed to the belief that we are all created equal, and that no one should be discriminated against at the workplace or anywhere else on the basis of their race, gender, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation. It's time we find a common sense solution that builds on our shared values, not the beliefs that divide us. That's why I believe in giving legal recognition to same-sex relationships, so gay people can share in both the benefits and the responsibilities of committed relationships, but leave it to the states to decide what to call those relationships, in accordance with the values and beliefs of the people of that state.

5 January 3, 2014 Survey Results of a Strong Progressive Message Gay people should be treated with the same respect and dignity as everybody else in this country. They don't deserve special rights, but they shouldn't be discriminated against, either. We need leaders who remind us of what we all share as Americans, not what divides us. We may differ in our religious beliefs, but at the heart of who we are as nation, and at the heart of most of our faith, is one simple value: that we are all created equal. And that means no one should be discriminated against in the workplace, housing, or anywhere else because of their race, gender, or sexual orientation. What we call their relationships under the law should be up to the states to decide.

6 January 3, 2014 Survey Results of a Strong Progressive Message For most Americans, marriage is a religious term, not just a legal one, and we need to respect that. My faith teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman. But in this country, we don't force one person to live by another person's faith. Gay people are people, and they're children of God like the rest of us. They should have the rights all Americans have to a job, a house, or health benefits, and to choose their relationships without government interference. It's up to individual churches to decide what kinds of relationships they do or don't want to sanctify. And it's up to our leaders to ensure that government intrudes as little as possible into the personal lives of Americans and protects all of our rights to live our lives as we see fit, based on our own moral compass, not somebody else's.

7 January 3, 2014 Internet Panel Dial Tests of Strong Progressive Messages The following are message dial tests among likely voters. Click each message below to play its dial graph. The graph plots the mean rating score for the message on a scale. The colored lines represent the scores among Republicans, Independents, Democrats and all respondents. …My faith teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman. But in this country, we don't force one person to live by another person's interpretation of scripture… (CLICK TO VIEW) We need to stop turning a personal issue into a political one, and to speak honestly about the mixed feelings many of us have about same-sex relationships… (CLICK TO VIEW) Right after 9/11, our government fired some of the only Arabic-speaking interpreters in our military just because they were gay, putting politics above our national security… (CLICK TO VIEW)

8 January 3, 2014 Emphasize peoples conscious values about treating people fairly and without discrimination; that discrimination is both un-American and against the teachings of most peoples faith. Non-discrimination is a persuasive entry point to the debate. Acknowledge first that you understand that many people consider marriage a religious term with a specific meaning, and you respect other peoples views. Emphasize the distinction between marriage as a religious and a legal institution. Make conscious voters ambivalence about gay relationships. How to Talk about Gay Rights: Key Points

9 January 3, 2014 Talk about specific, concrete areas in which majorities are supportive of nondiscrimination such as in the workplace and housing, and extend to workplace benefits that should have nothing to do with sexual orientation. Remind people of what we all share, not what divides us. How to Talk about Gay Rights: Key Points Language to avoid Avoid the words same and rights.

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