Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Why Gay People Vote

I was just reading the comments in the Dkos thread about how more than 90% of gay people vote during Presidential elections. Anyway, I thought this was one bright reason on why gay people are more likely to vote,
The process of coming out is an inherently political one. It is an act of saying "I am who I am, and I'm not going to let anyone take that away from me." Once you make that leap, it should be no surprise that you'd get involved in countless other ways.

As for why I've always been so political, I don't know, but I doubt my sexuality has all that much to do with it. I've always been this way, at least for as long as I could ever remember. I guess I've always cared about the way things work and making things as inherently fair for everyone as possible. That, or I hate the idea of bowing down to authority figures who think of themselves as authority figures - and not just normal people with good ideas who won an election based on those ideas.

In any event, my point remains: the way gay people vote changes the outcomes of elections, so Presidential candidacy impertinence - saying you're for 'equal rights' but being against equal them - is a vote killer and will only serve to turn more than 10% of the Democratic Party's voting base off. If any one of the Big Three goes out on a limb and truly favors equal rights, they'll very well get the advantage they need in the early primary states, which will give them the bounce they need for the rest of the election. If anyone wants to beat Hill, it may just take the support of the gay population and its preponderance of importance during primary elections.

9 comments:

Laurel said...

Great write-up Ryan! It doesn't surprise me to read that a huge majority of LGBT people vote. I'm sure that that comes from having to scratch our way forward. But I also don't think that the activism necessarily goes much deeper than that. My guess is that a somewhat larger percentage of LGBT people than heteros are quite actively involved in politics for the reason just mentioned, as well as to our understanding of the country's social shortcomings. But hard core political junkieism happens across the board, and is probably explained by something else. Anyways, 90%...wow! a number to take notice of!

what do you make of dodd backing out of the forum, and biden never planning to attend? a sign they are going to run a different style campaigns, or a sign of insincerity in their POTUS goals?

Ryan Adams said...

I think, at least in the case of Dodd, he realized his answer on gay marriage wasn't playing well... and he isn't going to get the gay vote. I don't think he's going to run to the right of the folks attending the forum.

Biden? Maybe, but quite honestly, I don't really care because he isn't going to be the nominee. Biden is one of my least favorite politicians, at least from the Dem side, so I'm glad he's showing his true colors.

Blue-Xela said...

Hey Ryan,

I'm glad you're covering this. I guess I've always thought it was a no-brainer for a candidate to be for equal rights period. Wouldn't you just love to hear a democratic presidential candidate just say that?

However, I do think that someone saying "I support gay marriage" could be political suicide. My heart is still with Hill, even though she's infamously cautious, I still think she's a solid person and the best candidate from both parties.

What makes me want to pull out my hair is when GLBTers vote Republican! When someone chooses to vote with their wallet instead of their dignity, I automatically lose respect.

Anonymous said...

Here's a question, in the vein of gay marriage, basic human rights etc. Should the state pay for sex change operations for individuals in prison, welfare, medicaid. If it's a condition which they're born as (as I understand your ideas) shouldn't the state pay, as they would for maybe a cleft lip? I'm not being facetious but am trying to understand the LGBT mindset. I'm middle class, WASP but at least I try to see the other side.

Ari Fertig said...

Um, not to burst your bubble, but that number seems really, really high. How was that survey done?

According to political wire there are some serious flaws.

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2007/08/09/gay_turnout_study_flawed.html
"As a political scientist, the gay turnout story infuriates me, because it ignores everything we know about how people over-report their turnout behavior. In the American National Election Study (the highest quality election survey done in America), over 70% turnout is reported. Considering that Community Marketing is a no-name polling outfit which may have low response rates (and hence nonrandom selection), and that a survey targeting gay respondents has political undertones, it is not surprising that such a high (inflated) turnout rate was gotten. The miniscule margin of error is irrelevant—the survey is subject to much greater errors beyond sampling error including social desirability bias, non-response bias, etc. Based on these concerns, I really doubt that gays turnout at a higher lever than non-gays."

Ryan Adams said...

Shhh Ari, Presidential candidates may hear you =p

Is it possible the results weren't perfect from this survey? Of course, there's an even larger chance of that than normal because of the nature of this kind of a survey.

However, I'd be wary to go along with that snippet's thesis that gays and non-gays vote at the same rate. Don't be surprised to find that gay people vote at a higher rate than straight people at all: the community is inherently more political because of how society treats us (walking, holding your boyfriend's hand becomes something political whether we like it or not).

Furthermore, I've come to meet a lot of glbt people over the past year - some very political, some not very political at all. However, even the ones who aren't especially political have voted at least once since they got to college. Is that anecdotal? Somewhat, but like I said, that's from a fairly large and diverse group of people within the glbt community.

Laurel said...

to anon 9:13,
just a friendly reminder that there is no such thing as "LGBT mindset". we're all individuals, just like you non-LGBT people are. we represent the full range of opinion, etc. so, beware anyone claiming to represent Us. likewise, i won't assume anything about other anonymous posters because of your question. ;)

Anonymous said...

But Laurel I can make assumptions about other questions, for example the "mindset" of the GLBT individual is to support gay marriage based on the overwhelming responses I read here. Of course I realize you are all individuals and opinions may VARY but by initiating and LISTENING to your responses I can begin to understand the feelings of a community I admittedly have little contact with. Or do you only touch on the easy questions so you can present a united front?

Anonymous said...

Apparently you only want to answer easy questions you can all agree on. Laurel I'm disappointed.
Fred
(added a moniker to validate posting)

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