By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com September 22 2009 2:00 PM ET
A powerful and well-produced commercial can make even hardwired
Republicans more sympathetic to the cause of marriage equality,
according to a new study.
Released by the group Truth and Hope, a liberal grassroots group, the study looked at the effects of targeted marriage equality advertisements on a group of voters. Researchers surveyed 851 self-declared Democrats, Republicans, and independents and found that the
majority of all parties reported that an ad supportive of marriage equality was
The commercial in question featured a heterosexual baby-boomer couple speaking fondly of their gay son, his partner, and the gay couple's children.
"It may not be the family we imagined," the older man said, "but it is the family we know and love. We wouldn't change it for anything."
While Democrats and independents described "happiness" and "inspiration" as the emotions they most experienced after seeing the ad, Republicans described "disturbed" and "happiness" as the two most prominent emotions they felt after seeing the ad. While Republicans are clearly not yet comfortable with same-sex marriage, emotions like "anger" and "embarrassment" ranked lower than positive feelings like "inspiration."
Another good sign, according to Truth and Hope, is that 58% of Republicans described the ad as "extremely" or "somewhat" effective.
"The fact that one in five Republicans expressed happiness, and that the effectiveness rating [was] over 50% with all three parties shows that we are on target with our message," said Eugene Hedlund, founder and chair of TruthandHope.org. "Now it becomes our task to take this message to the airwaves, beginning in Maine where Frank Schubert is trying to take equality away from its citizens, just as he did in California in 2008."