HRC Blog

New Poll: LGB and Allied Voters Critical to 2012 Electoral Successes

Post submitted by Michael Cole-Schwartz, Former HRC Director of Communications

HRC is releasing today the results of a post-election poll that shows a cultural sea-change on LGBT equality reflected in voters’ attitudes.

In 2004, LGBT issues – and marriage in particular – were used as wedge issues to drive conservative turnout, but 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% of the President’s total popular vote margin.

Total Americans voting


120,871,984


Total LGB voters (5% of electorate)


6,043,599


President Obama’s national popular vote (51% of all voters)


62,088,847


President Obama’s national popular vote margin over Mitt Romney


3,305,710


LGB votes for President Obama (76% of total LGB votes)


4,593,136


President Obama’s LGB votes if the demographic group only voted for him at the national average of 51%


3,082,235



Additional LGB votes President Obama received above the 51% national average


1,510,901



Percent of President Obama’s national popular vote margin due to LGB voters



45.7%



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)

This fair-minded majority resulted in landslide victories up and down the ballot for LGBT Americans.  Aside from President Obama’s reelection, 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 full memo on the survey is available at: www.hrc.org{assets_Array:http://s3.amazonaws.com/hrc-assetsfiles\/assets\/resources\/Election2012_memo.pdf

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More on HRC’s electoral victories is available at: www.hrc.org/election

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 November 5th and 7th, 2012 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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