Trump Tweets Dubious Survey Results from Gay Dating App as Proof of his Strength with Gay Male Voters

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday September 21, 2020

Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign
Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign  (Source:Associated Press)

President Donald Trump recently tweeted the results of a survey that said 45% of queer men would support him.

He left out it was an unscientific one whose data was gathered in a questionnaire on the gay dating app Hornet, which makes highly dubious, the LGBTQ website The Blade concludes.

Last week, EDGE reported on the Hornet survey in which 10,000 of the app's users voluntarily weighed in. The survey results indicated 51% support for Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, with Trump falling slightly behind at 45% support. "Just shy of one half," Hornet said in their assessment of the results. Apparently, the survey also asked users about their level of support, ranging from "I do not support him at all" (at 49%) to "I fully support him" (at 16%).

Particularly striking in the Hornet results, originally published to their site on September 14, are the statements:

While the percentage of Biden-supporting queer men who took Hornet's survey falls within that range of national polling, the percentage of Trump-supporting queer men who took the survey is higher than what's seen in national polls. This percentage of Trump-supporting queer men is also higher than what Hornet saw from queer men worldwide; among all 10,000 Hornet users surveyed, 66% support Joe Biden and 34% support Donald Trump.

In likelihood, the criticism has led to the executive editor of Hornet, Stephan Horbelt, to post an update on September 20 to the survey story on the app's site. Horblet contends that attempting to predict voter turnout "would simply not be proper... from an opt-in survey such as this." Admitting that the Hornet survey only collected data from those who voluntarily opted in — "not that broader Hornet user base, not gay American men, and most definitely not the broader American LGBTQ community" — one wonders why the app would release "data" from a survey that does not appear to properly and comprehensively reflect the US LGBTQ constituency.

Nonetheless, the findings found a fan with FOX News' Tucker Carlson who cited it as evidence of LGBTQ support for the President — when, in fact, Trump has actively worked to rollback LGBTQ rights and protections acquired under President Obama's administration.

Trump, of course, weighed in as well:

Others took it with a grain of salt.

Jason Turcotte, Associate Professor of Communication at Cal Ploy Pomona, explained via email to The Blade the problematic nature of Hornet's survey, specifically where its broad representation of the LGBTQ community is concerned:

"To hold up this poll as evidence that the LGBTQ community is somewhat split on its support for the presidential candidates is like someone saying the users of Farmers Only represent the ideological spectrum of all farmers or that Christian Mingle users represent the ideological spectrum of all Christians. To tout a Hornet poll as evidence of LGBTQ support for Trump is clickbaity, sloppy journalism."

Turcotte also criticizes the fact that Hornet's lack of transparency doesn't allow us to know where users reside, the age range of respondents, and sample size and methodology. Furthermore, allowing Hornet users to respond anonymously might be more reflective of anonymous users who might lean more conservative because they're not out to family and friends, or at work.

Brian Schaffner, political scientist at Tufts University, also pointed to issues with the Hornet survey — such as, only Hornet users were surveyed, and the app didn't account for the demographics that would be most likely to respond:

"For context, in November 2019, the survey I co-direct (the Cooperative Congressional Election Study) asked about 2020 vote choice," Schaffner said. "The survey is very large, so we actually had 1,074 LGBTQ men in our sample. Among that group, just 26 percent were planning on voting for Trump while 66 percent said they were going to vote for the Democratic nominee. That's basically the exact same breakdown as we saw in 2016 (67 percent Clinton and 26 percent Trump). So I'd be shocked to find any significant change in support among that group now."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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