Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Prop 8 Voting Patterns Analyzed

If you've been paying attention, they'll seem quite familiar. If you have been sucked in by the media's "pit the blacks against the gays" strategy, well, I guess you're in for a surprise. In a study by two New York political science professors, race ends up way down the list on correlation with yes votes. The report is highlighted by equalitygiving.org and the full PDF is here. 

Here they are in order, according to Profs. Egan and Sherrill, summarized at equalitygiving:

* The two most important characteristics determining the vote were party identification and ideology. Those self describing as Democrats or Liberals, overwhelmingly opposed Prop 8. Those self describing as Republicans or Conservatives, overwhelmingly supported California Proposition 8.

* The third most important characteristic determining the vote was religiosity. Those attending religious services every week, supported Prop 8 by 70% while those attending once a month opposed it by 52% and those hardly ever attending opposed it by 70%.

* The fourth most important characteristic determining the vote was age. All the ages groups opposed Prop 8, except for those 65+ who supported it by 67%. As importantly, when compared to another marriage initiative in California in 2000 (the Knight initiative), all age groups increased their support of same sex marriage equality in 2008---except for those 65 years of age or older.

Race, it turns out, was far from determinative. The votes of African-Americans and Latinos was described better by using the variable of religiosity. That is, minorities who attended church regularly were far more likely to vote yes than an unreligious member of the same community.

I think we can definitively put to bed the argument that any one group caused our defeat. Well, save the group of voters over 65. As those voters get gradually replaced by younger voters, our odds of defeating such an amendment grow.

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