“Marriage Voters” Take Center Stage in 2012 Elections
December 3, 2012 by Charlie Joughin
Nearly a month after nationwide elections delivered historic victories for marriage equality across the country, HRC released a polling report showing a new, pro-marriage equality voting bloc drove ballot measure victories in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.
In addition to confirming the decisive role played by LGBT voters, the report also makes a clear case for the emergence of a group of voters of all stripes who cast their ballot specifically on the issue of marriage equality. Self-identified Obama Voters, Democrats and Liberals were all significantly more likely than their conservative counterparts to rate marriage equality as important to deciding their vote for President. And nationwide, voters supported marriage equality by an 11 percent margin—a landslide compared to President Barack Obama’s margin of re-election.
In states where marriage equality was on the ballot, the trend was just as clear:
- The pro-equality campaign secured a 12 point net swing since marriage equality was last on the ballot in 2009, driven in part by increased support among from Catholic voters (up 11 percent since 2009), independents (up 14 percent), and seniors (up 3 percent).
- A full 54 percent of Washington voters approved marriage equality in 2012 after first voting to affirm domestic partnerships in 2009. Though support for equality was up in most groups, this year’s victory was driven by a 16 percent jump in support among independent voters.
- Growing support among African American voters was a major story from Maryland. A majority of African American women voted to bring marriage equality to the Free State and support for equality in majority-African American communities like Prince George’s County (nearly 50 percent) and Baltimore County (57 percent) won the day.
- In Minnesota—just like in the other three states—young voters and Democrats made up the bulk of the pro-equality coalition. Yet increased support in unlikely groups helped to tamp down the anti-equality vote: 44 percent of voters aged 50-64, 23 percent of Romney voters, and 45 percent of non-college voters cast their ballots to stop discrimination from being enshrined in Minnesota’s constitution.
The full memo on the survey is available at: http://hrc-assets.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com//files/assets/resources/ExitPollSurveyAnalysis.pdf
More on HRC’s electoral victories is available at: www.hrc.org/election
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