July 14, 2010
issues were asked; the leading, inflammatory, and limited answer choices; and the forum for askingthese types of questions. Such inquiries would have been better left to the focus groups or to a smallsample of survey respondents. A scientific sampling of the force could have been achieved with a 99%confidence level and less than a 2% margin of error by surveying just under 4,200 troops. If theDefense Department wanted to survey 400,000 troops on such issues, it should have ensured that thequestions being asked about these issues were not patently offensive and biased with limited andleading answer choices.
PENTAGON CLAIM: The enormous sample size was necessary for the survey.
MR. MORRELL: “We would not be disseminating it to our forces in the numbers that we are unless webelieved it to be the best vehicle possible to get a scientific sample of the attitudes of the force.”
SU RESPONSE: This suggestion is completely false. For a population size of of nearly 3 million(active duty plus reserve forces), the maximum number of survey participants that would have beenneeded “to get a scientific sample of the attitudes of the force” with a confidence level of 99% and amargin of error of less than 2% is just under 4,200. This would have also cost American taxpayerssignificantly less and would have been more in line with the Defense Secretary’s mission to cutexcessive defense costs.
PENTAGON CLAIM: The survey is not biased.
MR. MORRELL: “Absolutely — unequivocally, I reject it as nonsense. This is the work of an incredibly professional survey organization.” MR. MORRELL: “I think only seven of the references use the term homosexual, and when they do usethe term homosexual, it is to elicit a yes or a no answer. It is never to elicit a subjective answer. We arewell aware that to some the word homosexual is a loaded term,” MR. MORRELL: (Question: Why isn’t there a question that relates to the impact that DADT dischargeshave had on current unit morale or cohesion?)
I frankly don’t know. I’m sure there’s a good explanation for it, I don’t know. I’m not armed with that information.”
SU RESPONSE: It is a well known fact that the use of the term “homosexual” in opinion pollingintroduces bias, which is why the term is almost always used by fervently anti-gay organizations andindividuals in their rhetoric in contrast to the more humanizing phrase “gays and lesbians.” Even Mr.Morrell admits to being aware that the term “homosexual” can be a “loaded term.” A February 2010CBS/New York Timespollasked respondents, “Do you favor or oppose homosexuals serving in themilitary?” While 59% of respondents favored service by “homosexuals,” that number jumped up to70% when the phrase “gays and lesbians” was substituted for “homosexuals.” Furthermore, thesection of the survey that is about service with gays and lesbians, and hypothetical service with opengays and lesbians, starts off with the use of the term “homosexual” multiple times.Also, many of the questions and answer choices are leading and inherently suggestive. If theComprehensive Review Working Group wanted to “address these types of things” with a much larger sample size than the focus groups and forums provided to see if the concerns expressed in thosesettings would also be expressed by others, as Mr. Morrell says, then the survey should have allowed