- The Magazine
A poll of Hornet users has created an election-year controversy after 45% of U.S. respondents claimed they would be supporting President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
Earlier this month, Hornet, a social networking app geared towards queer men of various sexual orientations, sent out a mass broadcast message to its users asking them if they’d like to participate in a survey on political attitudes.
The survey had three questions, asking respondents on which continent they live, whether they are a U.S. citizen, and who they would be voting for in November — or, if they weren’t U.S. citizens, who they would vote for in a hypothetical election between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The voluntary survey took responses from 10,000 users from around the world — 1,200 of whom were U.S. citizens.
According to the survey, 51% of U.S. citizens who participated indicated they would vote for Biden, while 45% pledged support for Trump. Ten percent of U.S. citizen respondents said they “do not support [Donald Trump] at all,” yet still intend to cast their vote for the president. Interestingly, the margin in the poll tracks closely to current polling among all U.S. voters, which shows Joe Biden consistently with a single-digit lead in the popular vote over Trump, with Biden generally registering between 49% and 51%, and Trump’s support in the 40s.
By comparison, global respondents are more favorably disposed towards Biden, who enjoys 66% support from queer Hornet users, compared to 34% for Trump. Among queer men in North America who are not living in the United States, Biden enjoys a 72% to 26% edge. Among queer men in South America, Biden led Trump, 76%-22%. Among queer men in Europe, Biden led Trump, 65%-33%. Among queer men in Asia, Biden led, 61%-36%. Among queer men in Africa, Biden led 62%-33%. Among queer men in Australia/Oceania, 74% support Biden, compared to 22% who support Trump.
Users from two countries — Russia and Taiwan — showed more support for Trump than Biden, with Trump holding a 20-point edge in the former and a 4-point edge in the latter.
“This was a rudimentary survey on the U.S. presidential election by continent,” Stephan Horbelt, the executive editor for Hornet, told Metro Weekly in an interview. “I was curious to see: what are the percentages of Trump and Biden support? Because Hornet has a very international user base. And so I was curious to see what those percentages look like in the United States, but also every other continent.”
Horbelt noted that he used a survey platform that was able to collect data on the type of device being used to respond to the survey, the time it took for a user to fill out, the date and time when they took the survey, and their geographic location. Users were prevented from taking the survey twice, and Horbelt said he saw “zero instances” of a disparity between the country where a user claimed to be living and the location from where they were taking the survey. Respondents hailed from various cities or metropolitan areas throughout the United States, with no specific concentration in any region.
“Now that being said, there are citizens of Europe who live in the United States and would have been taking the survey in in America,” noted Horbelt. “So, for instance, our CEO is actually a citizen of Germany, but he lives in San Francisco. So the answer to the first question by him would be: ‘I’m not I’m an American citizen,’ because he’s a citizen of a European nation.
He added he would have liked to collect additional data to see how respondents’ preferences correspond with ethnicity or age, as it would have made the findings even more interesting.
The survey’s results — and particularly the over-broad claims that it definitively proves that 45% of gay men are going to vote for the president — have created much consternation among the LGBTQ community and on the political left, who wish to refute the idea that Trump enjoys broader support among the queer male community.
The Human Rights Campaign touted a story by one outlet that sought to dispel the survey’s findings. That article quoted Jason Turcotte, an associate professor of communication at Cal Poly Pomona, as saying the survey is “unlikely to be representative of the broader LGBTQ community. Turcotte dismissed headlines touting the Hornet poll as evidence of support for the president as “clickbaity, sloppy journalism.”
Besides taking issue with the poll allowing users to remain anonymous, Turcotte also took issue the survey’s failure to include data on demographic information — such as the race, ethnicity, income, or educational level of respondents — which he said could skew the results.
That, of course, didn’t stop the president — always eager to seize on an opportunity for self-promotion — to respond “Great!” to a Twitter user who cited the Hornet survey’s results.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2020
But other users ridiculed the idea that support for Trump was that high, noting that Hornet is generally more popular in other countries than the United States. Others simply dismissed the findings as “propaganda.”
45% of gay men!!!*
*on a dating app that barely anyone in the US uses https://t.co/sNb2Ox6yVK
— Lucas ''V🎃TE'' Suter (@TheDudePOTUS) September 20, 2020
That's a lie 45% of gay men are not voting for Donald Trump Donald Trump did not believe in the gay community.. he has done nothing for the gay community so stop putting fake propaganda out there again the only way you can win is by lying
— PATRICIA CASTELLANO (@PATRICI60001408) September 20, 2020
The article says 45% of Queer (the Q). The tweeter said 45% of Gay men (the G).
Donald Trump and the person he retweeted care so little about these issues, they didn’t even bother to learn the letters.
— Troye Petersen (@PetersenTroye) September 20, 2020
This isn’t the first time that the app has sparked controversy with ones of its surveys, one of which recently asked about mask-wearing habits during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2017, Hornet was criticized by some on the Left after a survey of its French users found that nearly 20% of queer men intended to vote for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, whose National Front Party was known for its anti-LGBTQ views. However, the survey was cited by BBC News because it highlighted an identifiable trend unveiled in the BBC’s own reporting, in which a number of gay men expressed support for Le Pen’s economically populist message and calls for greater restrictions on immigration, especially from Muslim-majority countries.
“This is not a new phenomenon,” Horbelt said. “The idea of gay men not voting for the liberal candidate at a 100 percent rate is nothing new.”‘
Horbelt said he’s been “very careful” not to refer to the data from the voluntary survey as a scientific poll, but he also has no control over how writers and editors characterize the survey’s findings.
“I don’t want anyone to think that Hornet is trying to be Quinnipiac. We’re not. This is not a scientific poll,” he said. “That is why I’m very specific about calling it a survey.”
But Horblet also feels that some of the conclusions that people are extrapolating from Hornet’s most recent survey misrepresent aren’t accurate.
“I wouldn’t even extrapolate that 45 percent of gay men are going to vote for Donald Trump. I think all we can really say is that 45 percent of Hornet users who chose to take this survey on the U.S. election said they will,” he said. “And what I personally take from that info is that we cannot continue to operate inside of a bubble. I saw it as a wake-up call that we cannot go on thinking that the LGBTQ community, especially gay men in particular, are some monolith and that they’re going to vote for the Democratic candidate because that’s what we do as gay men.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of pushback on that notion from a few other outlets and a lot of people on social media, who seem like they’re upset that the data is getting relayed, and this idea that there are some Trump-supporting gay men is even being talked about,” Horbelt added. “I just don’t understand that mindset.”
Horbelt also notes that it is possible that more Trump-supporting gay men may have wanted to take the survey because of the general sense that they feel underrepresented in the LGBTQ community, and thus could have been more inclined to participate in the survey. That said, he added, the idea that Trump would have reservoirs of support within the queer community is not shocking.
“I worry that a lot of members of our own queer community are a little naive,” he said. “We sometimes talk out of both sides of our mouth, because we want to believe that the queer community is staunchly liberal, and will support our liberal candidates. But we also continually run these think-pieces on how the white gay community simply needs to process its racism or sexism problems, or it’s transphobia or it’s biphobia.
“Why do we find it so hard to believe when we acknowledge all of these very important issues, especially within the white gay community, yet we’re also surprised at support for Trump, who has turned himself into a figurehead of all of those ‘isms’ or ‘phobias’? Do we really think that those two issues don’t somehow meet in the middle? So I guess I’m just less surprised than other people.”
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