As much as no one cares to admit it, TV is a rather inordinately influential medium. What, do you think Oprah would be able to convince a bunch of bored, sexless housewives to read Elie Wiesel’s Night if she WASN’T syndicated? No, that will never happen.
Well, according to a poll done by The Hollywood Reporter — always a reliable, scientific source — shows like Modern Family and Glee are reportedly influencing voters in the US to support pro-equality measures. Yes, people are getting more gay-friendly, and all it took was a group of multicultural teenagers singing Gotye to do it.
In the past 10 years, the THR poll of likely voters across the nation found, about three times as many voters have become more pro-gay marriage as have become more anti-gay marriage — 31 percent pro, 10 percent anti.
Asked about how the shows influenced them, 27 percent said gay TV made them more pro-gay marriage, and six percent more anti. Obama voters watched and 30 percent got more supportive, 2 percent less supportive. Surprisingly, the shows made almost as many Romney voters more in favor of gay marriage: 13 percent got more pro-gay-marriage, 12 percent got more anti. (This trend toward gay acceptance squares with other polls: the 2011 Gallup poll was the first ever to show a majority, 53 percent, in favor of legalizing gay marriage, and a 2012 Gallup poll showed 50 percent in favor and 48 percent against it.)
There are plenty of people I know who, if you mention Modern Family anywhere near them, launch headfirst into a frothing rage over how Cam and Mitchell are stereotypes and no gay men act like that and so on and so forth . . . I’ll spare you the rant. But like it or not, people are heavily influenced by what they see on TV, and you’d have to be woefully naive to think the average voter doesn’t watch at least one serial sitcom. Media representation may not be the most cerebral cause to champion, but you can’t argue with results.