A barely-there, skinny 19-point margin

mathishardThe Los Angeles Times and KTLA conducted a poll of Californians to determine their support for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and their feelings about the state Supreme Court's decision allowing same-sex marriage. According to the headline in the print edition, "Californians slimly reject gay marriage." The Times website's front page says, "Californians reject gay marriage by a bit."

And the online version headline is:

Times Poll: Californians narrowly reject gay marriage

Voters also back a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions, a new Times/KTLA survey shows.

Los Angeles Times staff writer Cathleen Decker writes the story about this narrow support for an amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Here's how she begins:

By bare majorities, Californians reject the state Supreme Court's decision to allow same-sex marriages and back a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at the November ballot that would outlaw such unions, a Los Angeles Times/KTLA Poll has found.

Italics mine. There are four paragraphs of narrative before we get to the numbers:

Either way, the poll suggests the outcome of the proposed amendment is far from certain. Overall, it was leading 54% to 35% among registered voters.

Yes, you read that right. In the Los Angeles Times newsroom, 19 percentage points constitute slim, narrow, bare majorities. Gosh, I wonder how the story would be played if the opposite results were found. I know, as Barbie says, that math is hard. But this is truly inexcusable and the Times' cheerleading in support of same-sex marriage is anything but journalism.

The article goes on to say, by the way, that the 19-percent margin is really not that much and that the measure is doomed. The other barely-there, slim and narrow margin -- with regard to whether people supported or opposed the Supreme Court measure -- was 11 percentage points. The poll, by the way, was not of likely voters or even just registered voters but, rather, the general California population.

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