Glossary Term


pro-marriage vs anti-marriage

Whether one is in favor of same-sex marriage or whether one is against same-sex marriage

Be Clear question

A question asked by Lake Research Partners, one of No on 8’s polling firms, to measure wrong-way voting and to detect changes among voters in their support or opposition to same-sex marriage

absentee voting

A vote cast by someone unable or unwilling to attend their official polling station. Also known as voting by mail.

anti-LGBT attacks

In this report, refers to anti-LGBT campaign communications that exploit anti-gay prejudice and anti-LGBT stereotypes

ballot measure

A direct vote in which an electorate is asked to accept or reject a proposal

benchmark poll

A relatively lengthy survey, usually conducted before or at the beginning of a campaign, to establish basic information about where voters stand before they are exposed to campaign communications. It often aims to inform a campaign’s messaging strategy by testing arguments both sides might consider raising during the campaign.


A board, also often known as a campaign committee, is the group of individuals or group representatives that has overall authority for the campaign. Often a board chooses a subset of its members to serve on an executive committee. Either the board or the executive committee or a designee (such as a campaign manager or a general consultant hired by the board or executive committee) makes decisions for the campaign.

campaign manager

A senior leadership position overseeing all aspects of a campaign; in California state-wide elections often supervised by a general consultant; alternatively the person in charge who in fact supervises all the consultants; generally held accountable by a campaign committee (or a board) or an executive committee of the campaign committee


The systematic initiation of face-to-face contact with voters. May be performed by volunteers, paid staff, and in candidate elections, often the candidate as well.

Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG)

A company that specializes in delivering media intelligence (information on advertisements, etc.) to clients. Often hired by campaigns to all the details of media buys placed by both sides, and retained by the No on 8 campaign among many others.


Experts who provide advice and services related to their particular specialty. Examples of political consultants include general consultants (with expertise in the totality of campaign matters), media consultants (who create and edit ads, place the ad buys, and/or seek to gain earned media coverage), and pollsters (who create polling instruments, oversee or contract out interviewing, tabulate results, and examine and analyze findings, and offer strategic advice based on the poll results).

Courage Campaign

A Californian progressive, multi-issue advocacy group, chaired and founded by Rick Jacobs, which has a predominantly online presence

David Binder Research

David Binder Research is a polling firm that was commissioned by the No on 8 campaign to conduct a benchmark poll September 2 through 4 and daily tracking polls from October 18 through November 3.

de-gayed campaign

A pro-gay campaign that avoids talking directly about LGBT people in its messaging

Dewey Square

A public affairs firm hired by the No on 8 campaign to serve as general consultant to the campaign. Steve Smith was the principal from the firm who took a large role with No on 8.

disjoint samples

Samples or groups that are mutually exclusive. The members of one group are not members of the other group if two groups are disjoint.

earned media

Publicity gained through promotional efforts other than advertising. Examples include newspaper coverage including news stories, feature stories, an editorial, an op-ed, or any item that is not paid advertising. Earned media includes coverage in any mass medium, including but not limited to print, television, radio, and online.

Equality California

A statewide, pro-LGBT California organization that works on LGBT issues, including same-sex marriage

Equality for All

A coalition of organizations that came together to work against Prop 8; referred to in this report as the No on 8 campaign


A state-wide, pro-LGBT political advocacy organization in Maine that works on LGBT issues, including same-sex marriage

farm team

An organization or activity that serves as a training ground for higher-level endeavors

field campaign

The portion of a campaign focused on direct contact with voters. It includes any portion of a campaign where one human being (representing the campaign) it talking to another human being (a voter or a potential volunteer). Common field campaign activities include door-to-door canvassing, phone banking (calling voters on the phone), and volunteer recruitment (e.g. by phone or in person).

focus group

A form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes toward a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging

frontloading democracy

Using the time early in a campaign to prioritize hearing multiple and disparate points of view, engaging in dialogue with the various supporters and stakeholders in a campaign, and having genuine curiosity about the points of view of people whose point of view is different from our own. But, at the same time, recognizing that a campaign needs to become increasingly decisive as Election Day approaches, and that the decisionmaking process will become decreasingly participatory as a result.

Get Out the Vote

A phrase used to describe political activity intended to increase the number of votes cast in an election. Commonly abbreviated GOTV. Most typically, a campaign engages in GOTV to get more of its supporters to the polls.

Gill Action Fund

A pro-LGBT 501(c)(4) organization that provides resources to organizations working on LGBT issues


Connotes a movement driven by local people, often volunteers, who are engaged in politics at the local level.

gross rating point (GRP)

A standard measure of frequency and reach of a broadcast TV ad. Abbreviated GRP. Campaigns buy ads in GRP’s per media market for a specific set of dates. As a rule of thumb, when a campaign buys 500 GRP’s in one particular media market per week, the average person who lives in the media market will see the ad 5 times. 500 GRP’s per media market per week is commonly considered the minimum effective buy for a political ad.


When a cohesive or homogeneous in-group minimizes conflict and reaches consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. Often associated with resistance to new or different ideas.

horse race question

The most commonly asked question in political polling; it seeks to figure out which side is ahead. It often recites word-for-word the language on the ballot and then asks, “If the election was tomorrow, which way would you vote?”

LA Gay and Lesbian Center

A community center that provides a very wide range of social services to the LGBT community of Los Angeles. It also houses Vote For Equality.

Lake Research Partners

A national public opinion polling and political strategy research firm founded by Celinda Lake in 1995. Hired by the No on 8 campaign as its principal pollster. Staff who were significantly involved included Celinda Lake, Josh Ulibarri, and Bob Meadow.


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender

LGBT Mentoring Project

The project run by David Fleischer, the author of this report, since 2007; it which provides long-term support to LGBT leaders and leadership teams around the country.

Maine No on 1 campaign

The statewide campaign in Maine that defended the marriage equality law challenged by Question 1. Voting No on Question 1 was a vote to keep same-sex marriage legal in Maine.

margin of error

A statistic expressing the amount of sampling error in a survey’s results. The larger the margin of error, the less faith we should have that a survey’s results are “true” for a given population. The smaller the sample size of a survey, the larger the margin of error, because smaller samples are less likely to be representative of an entire population.

Marriage Equality USA

Founded in 2010, Marriage Equality is a national all-volunteer non-profit whose mission is to secure legally recognized marriage equality at the federal and state level.

National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)

A nonprofit, public interest law firm based in California that litigates precedent-setting cases at the trial and appellate court levels, advocates for equitable public policies affecting the LGBT community, provides free legal assistance to LGBT clients and their legal advocates, and conducts community education on LGBT legal issues.

Neil Goldschmidt

The governor of the state of Oregon between 1987 and 1991


An international advertising, marketing, and public relations agency based in Manhattan, with an office in Sacramento. No on 8 hired Ogilvy to handle both earned and paid media; it created the first TV ads including “Thorons,” coordinated many early aspects of earned media including gaining state-wide editorial endorsements, and handled placement of the media buy throughout the campaign.

paid media

Publicity gained through paid advertising

persuadable voters

Undecided voters believed to be open to persuasion.

phone bank

A central location where people (in the case of No on 8, volunteers) call voters and potential volunteers.

Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

An independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research institution in San Francisco, California


Being supportive of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community; usually means supportive of LGBT equality as a matter of public policy

Prop 22

A law, also called the California Defense of Marriage Act, approved by California voters in a March 2000 ballot measure to prohibit the state from recognizing same-sex marriage, even if contracted in another state. In May 2008, it was struck down by the California Supreme Court as contrary to the state constitution.

Prop 4

A 2008 ballot initiative in California that would have required parental notification for minors seeking an abortion. It was defeated.

Prop 73

Similar to Prop 4, a 2005 parental notification ballot initiative in California that was defeated.

Prop 85

Similar to Prop 4, a 2006 parental notification ballot initiative in California that was defeated.


Poll participants who do not divulge their opinion. In the Lake Research polling, a “refusal” is someone who refuses to answer a particular question but who continues to answer other questions posed by the pollster.

San Diego LGBT Center

A community center for LGBT people in the city and county of San Diego

Save Our Children

Anita Bryant's 1977 anti-gay campaign.


A team, often within a larger organization, that is given a high degree of autonomy unhampered by the usual rules and bureaucracy so that it can pursue innovative experiments and try out new approaches.

standard horse race

The Lake Research version of the most commonly asked question in political polling; this is the question that seeks to figure out which side is ahead. It often recites word-for-word the language on the ballot and then asks, “If the election was tomorrow, which way would you vote?”

Stanley Greenberg

A pollster and political strategist

Storefront Political Media

A political consulting firm that provides media, communications, and general consulting services to campaigns. No on 8 hired Storefront to create and produce its direct mail to voters.


When the whole is greater than the sum of the parts; when two or more forces combine and get a result greater than the mere sum of what each could accomplish on its own.

Targeted Rating Points (TRP’s)

A measure of the frequency and reach of TV ads that seek to reach a targeted rather than general audience. See also the definition of Gross Rating Points (GRP’s) above.

The Field Poll

Established in 1947 as the California Poll. It has operated continuously as an independent, nonpartisan, media-sponsored public news service that regularly conducts surveys of public opinion.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (The Task Force)

An organization working for the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States. Its organizing and training department staff led key portions of the field operation of the No on 8 campaign.

Third Way

Third Way is a moderate think tank in the progressive movement, working on economic and social policy agendas and aiming to create “big-tent progressivism” that appeals to moderates as well as progressives.

tracking poll

A brief poll, usually conducted repeatedly at regular intervals near the end of a campaign and asking the same or mostly the same questions, to capture trends and developments as election day approaches. No on 8 hired both Lake Research and David Binder Research to do daily tracking polling.


Voters who have not decided on the question at hand

Vote For Equality

The community educational project of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center that focuses on issues of public policy, including same-sex marriage.

voter identification

A conversation between a campaign and a voter that seeks to identify how the voter plans to vote on an issue.

Wild Swan Resources

The consulting practice of Phyllis Watts, who along with other consultants advised No on 8 on message. Wild Swan Resources provides leadership consulting to organizations.

wrong-way voting

A vote that contradicts a voter’s beliefs; due to confusion, the voter votes the opposite of their intention, eg in the case of Prop 8, someone voting No who wanted to ban same-sex marriage, or someone voting Yes who favored same-sex marriage.