A Dec. 2014 NY Times story said:
Gay political canvassers can soften the opinions of voters opposed to same-sex marriage by having a brief face-to-face discussion about the issue, researchers reported Thursday. The findings could have implications for activists and issues across the political spectrum, experts said.Now it says:
Psychologists have long suspected that direct interaction, like working together, can reduce mutual hostility and prejudice between differing groups, whether blacks and whites or Christians and Muslims. But there is little evidence that the thaw in attitudes is a lasting one.
The study, published Thursday by the journal Science, suggests that a 20-minute conversation about a controversial and personal issue — in this case a gay person talking to voters about same-sex marriage — can induce a change in attitude that not only lasts, but may also help shift the views of others living in the same household. In other words, the change may be contagious. Researchers have published similar findings previously, but nothing quite as rigorous has highlighted the importance of the messenger, as well as the message.
“I am very impressed with this paper,” said Todd Rogers, an assistant professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a founding director of the Analyst Institute, a voter research group that helps Democratic candidates.
Editors’ Note: May 20, 2015That is an understatement, as the study was completely faked:
An article on Dec. 12, 2014, reported on a study published by the journal Science that said gay political canvassers could change conservative voters’ views on gay marriage by having a brief face-to-face discussion about the issue. The editor in chief of the journal said on Wednesday that the senior author of the study had now asked that the report be retracted because of the failure of his fellow author to produce data supporting the findings.
The survey firm claimed they had no familiarity with the project and that they had never had an employee with the name of the staffer we were asking for. The firm also denied having the capabilities to perform many aspects of the recruitment procedures described in LaCour and Green (2014).This study got a lot of publicity, and gave a lot of hope to leftist political activists.