Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.
This is preliminary analysis, but doing the quick analysis of voting age population turnouts, we can get an idea of how true this sort of claim may be. For states with same-sex marriage ban amendments, here is how the voting age population turnout percentages changed in 2004 compared to 2000. (Data from Dave Leip's US Election Atlas)
This compares to a average state voting age population turnout loss of .90%, although if you throw out Alaska, California, Maine, Montana, and Washington state (all of which had double-digit declines because they were more or less uncontested and didn't have any big issues on their ballots), the average state had VAP turnout of .82% higher.
But, Ohio is skewing things terribly here. It's the only swing state on the list, other than arguably Arkansas, although I don't know how that was ever in question, as they only vote for Southern Democrats. Note that this is completely contrary to the rhetoric spewed forth during the campaign, that these state initiatives were some dark Rove conspiracy to put them in swing states. If you throw Ohio out of the mix, the remaining states had an average turnout gain of only .54%.
Compare this to the results of looking at the 13 swing states:
As you can see, high turnout wasn't driven by a wedge issue, it was driven by a highly competitive race. So, please, in the name of intellectual honesty, people should not be blaming this "wedge issue" for the result.
BTW, did you notice that Missouri also had a much higher turnout: 5.60%. They had a gay marriage amendment too, it was on the ballot and passed, in September.
Some of the people making this claim on the web:
- PlanetOut is of course claiming it was the key to Republican victory.
- The Data Lounge simply cites NPR's citation of demonstrably flawed exit pollsfor evidence that gay marriage swung it for Bush, even going so far as to assert, "The Bush campaign had spent considerable time and energy keeping marriage equality for lesbians and gays at the forefront of the political discourse, by trying to pass a constitutional amendment to ban it and getting ban initiatives on the November 2 ballot in crucial swing states." How many times do I have to tell people: a) they weren't in swing states and b) Bush didn't want the state level amendments, that's why he proposed the FMA when he did, as I have discussed at length.    
- Bill Clinton claimed on Sunday that the Dems were being "worn out by guns and gay marriage. It's a load of bull." Yes, that is a load of bull.
- Greg at The Talent Show asserts "By placing anti-gay marriage amendments on the state ballots, the GOP was able to bring out their base in record numbers," in "Riding Fear to Victory"
- Jonathan Past Peak simply takes Jonathan's word for it in "Republican GOTV"
e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink] | | Wednesday, November 03, 2004
(Personally, i think Kerry's teeth are too big. I mean, who'd want a beaver as president? But I'm sure that's only one factor. On the other hand, Bush looks like that snarling little brat in grade school who was always getting you into trouble. So maybe a beaver is better.)
It'll take weeks before we really understand how so many people could have been so deluded...or were we Kerry supporters deluded...at this point it's just the post-election blame game.