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Not the economy, stupid?

If Kerry had won the election, I have no doubt that the dominant themes of the election post-mortems would be how terrible Iraq and the economy are, and how that drove election turnout. But since Bush won, there's very little on the converse - that is, on how everyone might have perceived that things aren't as bad as all that, and might have voted the way they do because they see Iraq and the economy getting better. No, all everyone wants to talk about is gay marriage. Because as David Brooks points out (in an article everyone else in the blogosphere has already linked to), focusing on that helps "reassure liberals that they are morally superior to the people who just defeated them." I guess they feel it's better to label Bush supporters simple bigots that to admit there might have been "positive" reasons to vote for the guy.

So anyway, about gay marriage. Andrew Sullivan shares with us a letter from a reader who theorizes, with statistics to back him up, that the referenda did not drive turnout, and thus did not (in itself) cost Kerry the election. I agree. But I also have interesting statistics of my own... The following is a list of states which passed gay marriage bans last week. For each state in the following list, the first number is the percentage who voted to ban gay marriage, and the second number is the percentage who voted for Bush:

  • Arkansas: Yes 75%, Bush 54%
  • Georgia: Yes 76%, Bush 58%
  • Kentucky: Yes 75%, Bush 60%
  • Michigan: Yes 59%, Bush 48%
  • Missisippi: Yes 86%, Bush 60%
  • Montana: Yes 67%, Bush 59%
  • North Dakota: Yes 73%, Bush 63%
  • Ohio: Yes 62%, Bush 51%
  • Oklahoma: Yes 76%, Bush 66%
  • Oregon: Yes 57%, Bush 48%
  • Utah: Yes 66%, Bush 71%

(Sources: here and here.)

Note that in every state except Utah, Bush was far less popular than the ban. In other words, a not-insignificant number of Kerry supporters were also ban supporters. Now I'm not going to call any of these Kerry supporters homophobes, though I wonder - will others?


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» Bush and Gay Marriage: The Numbers from The Binary Circumstance
In my previous post, Did Gay Marriage Cost Kerry the Presidency?, I asked the following question:I think the numbers in the Sullivan post are misleading. [Read More]

Comments (6)

Thanks for those numbers. Very interesting.

Very interesting numbers indeed. However, when you look at the fact that of the states listed, only 2 (and perhaps 3 if you count Arkansas) have been historically close. All others have been fire engine red for as long as I can remember.

Thanks - although the fact that most of those states have been red for a while was one of my points - the gay marriage issue didn't change the outcome of the vote in those states. In other words, as we both agree, they would have gone for Bush regardless.


What the statistics can be interpreted to show is that blacks (9o%+ voters for Democrats) support anti-Gay marriage measures in large numbers. It also shows that the media keeps thinking that all Democrats are like their friends in Manhatten and forget that some core portions of the Democrate party actuallly have more in common with the red voters in middle america than with the elite liberals on the coasts.

To bounce off superdestroyer who commented:

some core portions of the Democrate party actuallly have more in common with the red voters in middle america than with the elite liberals on the coasts.

Well yes - and to think that all the propaganda in this election led people to believe that only Republicans can draw a religious vote.

Mark D. Fulwiler:

The key question is "did the anti-gay marriage initiative in Ohio have an effect on the outcome there?" That's where Kerry lost the election.

Clearly, a lot of Kerry voters supported the Ohio ban, but it was ~more~ popular with Bush voters.


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