Sunday, October 28, 2012

Important voters

A recent Gallup report has revealed that LGBT voters support President Obama over the Republican challenger by nearly 3 to 1, and are far more Democratic, and far less Republican, than are non-LGBT voters. This makes them an important part of the Democratic coalition.

LGBT voters support President Obama by 71% to 22%; for non-LGBT voters, it’s a dead-heat: Support for President Obama is 46% and 47% support the Republican. This matches past elections, in which LGBT voters supported the Democratic candidate at similar levels.

LGBT voters who do support the Republican candidate match the typical demographic of non-LGBT supporters: “LGBT Americans who support Romney tend to be older, white, more religious, and more likely to be married.” Party preference, however, doesn’t mirror the general vote as closely.

44% of LGBT voters identify as Democrats, 43% as Independents and a mere 13% as Republicans. The numbers for the non-LGBT voters are: 32% are Democrats, 39% are Independents and 30% are Republican.

So, while non-LGBT voters tend to indentify as slightly Independent, they’re pretty evenly matched across the three broad divisions. LGBT voters, on the other hand, clearly skew Democratic, as Gallup put it, with Democratic-identified voters outnumbering Republican-identified voters by more than 3 to 1. However, Independent LGBT voters outnumber Republicans by the same margin.

LGBT voters are also twice as likely to identify as Liberal than non-LGBT voters are, and are about half as likely to identify as Conservative. The percentage of Moderate LGBT voters is similar to non-LGBT voters.

What all of this means is that the Democratic presidential nominee starts with a strong advantage among LGBT voters. But the data also suggests that the right Republican, one who is truly moderate, not a captive of the radical right and openly inclusive of the LGBT communities could, at least in theory, erase that advantage. Such a Republican would also attract votes from the 39% of non-LGBT voters who identify as Independent, but would no doubt lose votes among hard right conservatives. It’s all theory, though, since such a Republican doesn’t currently exist.

The reason all this matters is that in a very close election, LGBT voters can provide the margin of victory. With so many states’ races polling in virtual ties, and with marriage equality referenda in some states polling only slightly pro-LGBT, this could be an important factor.

It’s important to note, however, that the results show that LGBT voters are slightly less likely to be registered to vote and slightly less likely to actually vote than non-LGBT voters. This means that it’s equally possible for our adversaries among far-right religious extremists to claim to be the factor that influences the results, should their side win. Historically, religious extremists, especially fundamentalist Protestants, have a high rate of voter turnout, though this year may be lower due to their historic antipathy toward Mormons.

The upcoming elections will be close, in some places more than others, and in such places minorities might possibly provide the margin of victory. However, it’s true only if they actually vote.


Roger Owen Green said...

I KNOW there are other issues, but, in my heart of hearts, I don't understand Log Cabin Republicans. (Of course, can't really see why blacks, Hispanics or women would vote for Romney, either.)

Arthur Schenck said...

I agree. I get that GOProud are really just a Republican group that happens to be led by rightwing gay men, but the Log Cabins always used to at least pretend to be GAY Republicans. Selling out the community they claim to be part of in order to demonstrate fealty to the Republican Party seems totally bizarre—clearly a LOT of cognitive dissonance among those folks!!