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Science magazine formally retracts study on voters’ gay rights views

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According to the article, opinion changes produced by the straight canvassers tended to fade within a few weeks and those voters reverted to their previous views less favorable to same-sex marriage. The article said that the changes produced by the gay canvassers persisted nine months later.

Green began to have misgivings about the study after the integrity of the data was called into question by two graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley, who tried to launch a similar study.

“I am deeply embarrassed by this turn of events and apologize to the editors, reviewer, and readers of Science,” Green wrote last week.

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Reasons for Thursday’s retraction were detailed as follows by Science magazine:
  • “Survey incentives were misrepresented. To encourage participation in the survey, respondents were claimed to have been given cash payments to enroll, to refer family and friends, and to complete multiple surveys. In correspondence received from Michael J. LaCour’s attorney, he confirmed that no such payments were made.”
  • “The statement on sponsorship was false. In the report, LaCour acknowledged funding from the Williams Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund. Per correspondence from LaCour’s attorney, this statement was not true.”

  • “LaCour has not produced the original survey data from which someone else could independently confirm the validity of the reported findings.”

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