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Gay power

It is a perennial complaint, heard election after election: Too many Americans don't vote. But based on a massive new survey, one segment of the population surely must be excluded from this rebuke--gays.

The study this spring by San Francisco-based Community Marketing Inc. found that an eye-popping 92.5% of gay men reported that they voted in the 2004 presidential race, and almost 84% said they cast ballots in the 2006 midterm election. Among lesbians, the results were almost as impressive; nearly 91% said they voted in 2004; for the midterm, the figure was 78%.

By comparison, the Washington-based Committee for the Study of the American Electorate put the turnout for all Americans eligible to vote at about 61% in 2004 and roughly 40% in 2006.

Consider that last statistic for a moment--when matched with the findings by Community Marketing for the '06 contest, the bottom line is a turnout rate among gay men more than twice that for the nation's voters as a whole.

The information on voter participation by gays was compiled as part of a larger study of consumer interests and habits within the community slated for release later this month. The survey questioned more than 12,000 gay men and more than 10,000 lesbians, giving its results a minuscule error margin of plus or minus 1%.

The figures "demonstrate ...

that the political parties would be smart to pay attention to the issues that mean the most to gay and lesbian voters,” said Tom Roth, president of Community Marketing. “We have far more at stake than the average voter and we’re therefore far more engaged in the political process.”

Indeed, the turnout results were released--not coincidentally--as the Democratic presidential contenders prepare to meet in Los Angeles Thursday night for the first candidate debate sponsored by gay groups and devoted to issues of particular interest to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

The forum likely will become the subject of its own debate: Is the gathering a wise political move by the Democrats? The Community Marketing findings provide powerful ammunition for those arguing it is.

In raw numbers, the survey estimates that gay voters total close to 9 million. In the 2004 election, about 122 million Americans went to the polls.

The study did not examine the partisan preferences among the gay constituency. But given the parties' respective positions on gay rights, one can assume the tilt is heavily Democratic.

Community Marketing also reports that large majorities--more than 70%--of gay male and lesbian respondents agreed with the statement that "homosexuality will still be a divisive issue in the U.S.A. in 10 years."

On this matter, the survey presumably identified common ground with the evangelical community.

-- Don Frederick


Comments () | Archives (4)

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The politicians give nonexistant rights to aliens who illegally enter the country while denying gay Americans basic civil rights (not gay rights but basic civil rights.

And what methodology was used? Random sample? I doubt it.

I'm a D and would love if this number was true, but given that no data re: the methods were given, and the cost of a random sample giving such a sample size, I doubt that it is based on any sound science. It's too bad.

You can read about the methodology used here:

The sample IS skewed, inasmuch as it is drawn from respondents to an annual nationwide survey of LBGTI consumer behavior meant to influence advertisers; it represents adverse selection of those who a) are aware of the survey and b) choose to participate. I participate because I'm poor and think I should be in there, too. Nevertheless, it IS a very large sample with a very small margin of error, and it does accurately measures the opinions of the large subsegment of LBGTI persons which tend to be more literate and affluent, so maybe adverse selection isn't so important when you consider that those two markers would be true of any "likely to vote" group.

Gay folks voting

Hooray for them. We should all have a goal to insure that every single one of our gay citizens votes, and everyone else who believes this country was founded on equality for all, not religious intolerance and hate.

A few years ago, while in Key West, which has a large gay community, I remarked to my wife "just think, if every last gay person just in key west had voted, we probably wouldn't have had the monstrosity of the Bush Presidency to deal with after jan, 2005". This includes the Iraq war - the Grand Lie that has cost the lives of 3700 fine American Soldiers while Bush let Bin Laden escape in Afghanistan. This includes the record number of Billionaires, while the average American sees gas and now electric prices doubling, while retiring CEOs like the head of Exxon take home hundreds of millions of dollars as a going away bonus. This includes the endless corruption - most all of it by Republicans, e.g. the Abramoff Scandal, Gonzo's departure, Libby's conviction and pardon, the hypocrite Gingrich with his values of three wives and girlfriends. Also, all the closeted republican gay haters like the cruising for gay sex Sen Craig, and disgraced Minister Ted Haggard, whose gay hating didn't extend to his prostitute boyfriend who outed him, etc, etc.

Until the Republican party undergoes a complete bloodletting on its religious haters, liars, and those whose values come from a God of Greed - a total disgraced brought about by the monster of the White House, I'll vote totally democratic. Dems are far from perfect, but what we face if Bush and his cronies are not totally disgraced, destroyed, and rejected, is the end of the Constitution, the end of freedom, the end of equality, upward mobility and the middle class. Our greatest danger is not Islamic terrorism, it is the destruction of our nation's values by the worst arrogant, ignorant, and lying President ever to have that title.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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