How important was the LGBT vote to 2012 electoral success?Breaking News, Top Highlights Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) today released results of a post-election poll showing a cultural sea-change on LGBT equality reflected in voters’ attitudes.
“Last week’s results make clear that equality was a winner at the polls and confirms the inherent fairness of the American people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The president proved that support for marriage equality is not just the right thing to do but also a path toward electoral success.”
Whereas in 2004, LGBT issues – and marriage in particular – were used as wedge issues to drive conservative turnout, 2012 is remarkable in that the opposite has happened. In only eight years, marriage has gone from a wedge for the right, to a motivator for progressives, youth and even independents.
President Obama’s national popular vote margin was 3,305,710 votes. As 5 percent of the electorate, 6,043,599 lesbian, gay and bisexual people voted overall, favoring the president with 76 percent of their votes, equaling 4,593,136 people. Had the LGB population voted the same as the national average, President Obama would have only received 3,082,235 LGB votes. In other words, because the LGB community swung so significantly to President Obama, he received 1,510,901 more LGB votes – an astounding 45.7 percent of the president’s total popular vote margin.
Total Americans voting
Total LGB voters (5 percent of electorate)
President Obama’s national popular vote (51 percent of all voters)
President Obama’s national popular vote margin over Mitt Romney
LGB votes for President Obama (76 percent of total LGB votes)
President Obama’s LGB votes if the demographic group only voted for him at the national average of 51 percent
Additional LGB votes President Obama received above the 51 percent national average
Percent of President Obama’s national popular vote margin due to LGB voters
Among the findings in the poll conducted for HRC by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research:
Obama voters were twice as likely to say that the marriage issue was important to their vote (42 percent) than Romney voters (23 percent)
However, in an open ended question where voters were asked the most important reason to vote against the President’s re-election, only 2 percent cited “gay marriage.”
Marriage equality supporters have more intensity than marriage equality opponents:
Among supporters of marriage equality, 40 percent said the issue was important to them compared to 33 percent among opponents of marriage equality
There is no evidence that this issue mobilized base Republican voters:
There are more Romney voters that support marriage equality (27 percent) than Obama voters that oppose marriage equality (18 percent)
Marriage equality support maintains a national majority – including among diverse demographics:
Consistent with pre-election surveys, half of 2012 voters favor marriage equality
This position reflects strong support among Democrats (71 percent) and a solid majority among Independents (53 percent), as well as support among African Americans (55 percent) and Latinos (58 percent)
“Both parties should be vying for the votes of the LGBT community and our allies,” said Griffin. “With the growing breadth and depth of our electoral power, no one should take our votes for granted.”
This fair-minded majority resulted in landslide victories up and down the ballot for LGBT Americans. Aside from President Obama’s re-election, voters sent the first openly gay U.S. Senator to Washington in Tammy Baldwin, increased the number of openly gay and bisexual members of Congress, affirmed marriage equality at the ballot in Maine, Maryland and Washington, defeated a discriminatory marriage amendment in Minnesota, retained an Iowa Supreme Court Justice who decided for marriage equality, and built up state legislative majorities for relationship recognition in states like Colorado and Minnesota.
The survey, commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, was of 1,001 voters nationally who participated in the 2012 election. It was conducted between Nov. 5 and 7 among those who had already voted or were almost certain they would vote in the 2012 election and carries an overall margin of error of +/- 3.10.
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