Prop 8 Exit Polling

Jim Burroway

November 5th, 2008

CNN also has some interesting exit polling on California’s Prop 8:

As in Arizona, women are more supporting of same-sex marriage than men:
Men: Yes: 51%; No: 49%
Women: Yes: 50%; No: 50%

We have done a very poor job in reaching out to the African-American community:
White: Yes: 47%; No: 53%
African-American: Yes: 70% No: 30%
Latino: Yes: 51% No: 49%
Asian: Yes: 47%; No: 53%

The youth are our future:
18-24: Yes: 34%; No: 66%
25-29: Yes: 40%; No: 60%
30-39: Yes: 50%; No: 50%
40-49: Yes: 58%; No: 42%
50-64: Yes: 50%; No: 50%
65 or Over: Yes: 59% No: 41%

There’s a reason our opponents distrust education:
H.S. Graduate: Yes: 54%; No: 46%
Some College: Yes: 56%; No: 44%
College Graduate: Yes: 48%; No: 52%
Postgraduate: Yes: 39%; No: 61%

Marriage Amendments are a GOP thing:
Democrat: Yes: 35%; No: 65%
Republican: Yes: 81%; No: 19%
Independent: Yes: 44%; No: 56%


November 5th, 2008

“We have done a very poor job in reaching out to the African-American community”

Can you please explain why it’s our responsibility to reach out to them? Why it’s on our shoulders — one oppressed community, to reach out to another?

In an election based on change one thing remains the same.

Ben in Oakland

November 5th, 2008

I’m very sad that we lost. It was about what I expected, but for me personally, worse than I thought it would be.

I do have one thought– something I wrote in early September in an editorial that appeared in the BAR.

I had asked Mark Leno personally if they were going to do the liberal tolerance-equal rights strategy, pointing out that it had never worked before (except in AZ– once), or if they were going to show actual gay people, actual families, gay people attending church– you know, reality. He said that the focus groups had indicated that liberal tolerance was the way to go. I made the same point to HRC’s Marty Rouse at a fundraiser, and he repeated Leno’s line.

I didn’t work much with No on 8 because of their stated approach and because they seemed totally uninterested in having a speakers’ bureau to reach out to community groups and churches. Phone banking is what they were interested in and wanted volunteers for, not personal contact with real voters. (I tried phone banking once, but hated every minute of it. It seemed flat-out WRONG). Stuff of value to political operatives in their world, but totally divorced (in my opinion) from the real world. I did attend one training directed at churches, where in we were told NOT to use words like prejudice, children, gay marriage, religion, and so on– you know, reality. We were told that the pro.8 people had “co-opted” the issue of children. It was no longer ours to use.

I heard this with disbelief. I gave the campaign money (including FL and AZ), though I did it to show commitment, not because I believed in the approach. I raised a bunch of money, I even gave them some of my time, but I put more energy into Marriage Equality USA, and doing what I could do myself.

Though this political approach has merit, it is very troubling to me. It smells uncomfortably of the closet, which I have long maintained is the real enemy, not the Radical Right. It tells us to be invisible, not to talk about our lives and the REAL issues we face, lest we offend some undecided voter who needs to be manipulated into doing the right thing.

It avoids the larger issue of anti-gay prejudice, an apparently invisible 800 pound lavender gorilla. Research and experience show that people who know gay people tend not to vote against them. If we do not show gay people, we remain a faceless, menacing other, instead of friend, neighbor, or family. It is easy to vote against someone who is invisible.

And we were quite invisible.

I know that the California battle was important, and that we will be back. It’s not over. But I will say this much about any future campaign:

If it is going to be this type of campaign again– focus groups, polling, phone banking, and irrelevant ads that look good on a political resume but are useless in swaying people– don’t expect one dime of my money, one minute of my time, one iota of my energy.

I am angry as hell about this. I feel betrayed by our leaders. The handwriting was on the wall that a new approach was needed, and they preferred to immerse themselves in their political culture and operatives rather than show the simple facts of our lives.

And the result– more people thought that the standard of living of animals raised for food was more important than the civil rights and families of their fellow Americans.

I may have more to say later. Right now, I feel too weary.


November 5th, 2008

I agree. Barack Obama’s response to Prop. 8 was pathetic. He should have been the one making robocalls opposing the measure, not Bill Clinton.

One thing that’s really to blame is the balkanization of minority-rights activism over the years. The early gay rights movement was strongly supportive of the civil rights movement as a whole back in the 60s and viewed itself as part of it, and one big supporter of gay rights was Huey Newton.

Now, however, everyone seems concerned only with their own community’s interests.


November 5th, 2008

This comment has been deleted due to violations of our comments policy. Let’s keep the blame away from racial groups who make up a very small proportion of the population. And let’s keep the language clean. — JB


November 5th, 2008

I think it’s important to put the CA, AZ & FL propositions in perspective. Marriage is a religiously loaded term. I don’t agree with those that use religion to deny civil rights, but this country as a whole is not ready to leave the sanctity of marriage crap behind. BUT we have a new president that supports civil unions for same sex couples, and a Democrat controlled government that likely will support federal legislation. It is strongly possible we can have these rights in the near future. Let’s start working toward it!

Michael R

November 5th, 2008

The sad fact is that, at some point, an attitude crept into the African American community that shifted their focus away from Dr. King’s dream of “equal rights for all” to “equal rights for US.”

Today is a day for legitimate celebration for all Americans (including all gay people who yearn for equality) in our having elected an African American to lead our country.

But it is a day whose elation in the black community should be tempered with a profound sense of shame that they, who voted 95% in California for Obama, simultaneously led the charge AGAINST equality for others, voting 70% for Prop 8.

So if, as it seems, Prop 8 will succeed, what should be the attitude of both gays and African Americans going forward?

For African Americans, there should be a profound sense of dissatisfaction with the state of their community’s commitment to equal rights and a unified call for a renewed and readjusted focus on justice for ALL. In the words of Dr. King, “No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters.”

And for the gay community, if I may borrow Dr. King’s words again, “Let us not wallow in the valley of despair….I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that ALL men [including the gay ones] are created equal.'”

We will still win this fight, because Americans are, at heart, a good, fair-minded, and justice-loving people, and our cause is good, fair, and just.

I do sincerely hope that our African American friends will return to the truly-rich heritage of those who began the movement for equality in this country. And as they do, I trust that we who are gay will welcome them magnanimously, recognizing that without the sacrifices of that same community in years past, our struggle for equality would be a far-more-distant dream than it is today.

Ken R

November 5th, 2008

Vince, Florida’s Amendment 2 has made sure civil unions and anything resembling marriage does not get recognized. If (not if, when) the protect marriage proponents start passing Amendments to their state constitutions (if they have not done so already) in the same manner nothing remotely gay relationship wise will be recognized. They believe any type of gay relationship is sin and should not exist in their biblical worldview. They do not want gay relationships recognized whatsoever. To do so would legalize and support sin in their minds. Its unfortunate but reality with many people of faith.

We do have a better chance at passing ENDA and the repeal of DADT with President Elect Obama. But I fear the recognition of our realtionships is something they will fight to squash at all costs. It will be an uphill battle for sure.

Mark F.

November 5th, 2008

Ben has some good comments. If all you watched was “No on 8” TV ads, you’d have no idea this initiative was about gay people. Apparantly you were just supposed to be gainst “discrimination” without knowing just who it was who was being discriminated against.

Let’s try being totally honest next time. The “Yes On 8” people brazenly lied, but the No side was guilty of lying by ommission.


November 5th, 2008

As a black lesbian, I am subjected to many of the criticisms leveled against these 3 groups; “my race” did not vote against Prop 8 and doesn’t care about anyone’s civil rights but our own; “my sexual orientation” has civil unions and domestic partnerships, isn’t that enough; “my gender” is always out there trying to stir up something when we should be home in the kitchen. Instead of trying to find someone to blame for anything that’s considered a “failure”, why can’t we look at these things as just another hurdle to be jumped; another pothole to avoid; another mountain to climb, a river to cross, a valley to climb out of. We are ALL going to need each other to get where we want/need, no, DESERVE to be, and that’s on an equal footing with everyone else. United we stand and divided we fall; an old cliche to be sure, but a true one nonetheless. We can only get to the Promised Land if we stand together, side by side, and that means ALL OF US who experience inequality. I am a black woman who loves another woman, but more than that I am a PERSON who is no different from anyone else. We are all what God made us to be; His children, made in His image, and NO ONE, not California, not Arizona, not Arkansas or Florida; not the State Courts or the Federal, not the Mormons or the Jehovah Witness’, not even the President himself is gonna tell me otherwise.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that ALL men [including the gay ones] are created equal.” (Thanks Michael R)

It’s ‘self-evident to me’, and I’m going to keep on fighting until it’s ‘self-evident’ to everyone else!!


November 5th, 2008

Ken, no doubt it’ll be a battle, but the next two years (at least) we have the best chances of getting this legislation passed! Here’s what I pulled from President Elect Obama’s website: “Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples equal legal rights and privileges as married couples, including the right to assist their loved ones in times of emergency as well as equal health insurance, employment benefits, and property and adoption rights. Obama also believes we need to fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex
couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions.” I think pulling the word marriage out of such legislation, and including language that does not require religious organizations to accept/support civil unions takes a significant bite out of the opposition’s argument. I realize many out there are disappointed that Obama does not support gay marriage, but I think he may have a good understanding of what is doable in the near future.


November 5th, 2008

To check on the latest CA returns, here’s a link:

Also, keep in mind that late absentee and provisional ballots meant as many as 3 million ballots were left to be counted after all precinct votes were tallied.

So, I AM NOT GIVING UP HOPE!!! Until that very last vote is counted! It ain’t over!

Another thing that disturbs me is that the number of votes cast for all Presidential candidates (Obama+McCain+Others) does not equal the number of votes on Prop. 8 (yes+no), the Presidential votes are higher.

So, does that mean that a lot of people did not vote all the way down the ballot?

Did they just cast their vote for President and leave?

Voted for President (Obama+McCain+Others) – 10,088,999
Voted for Prop 8 (yes + no) – 10,013,567

Difference of 75,432 votes!

Now, if those were “Yes” votes, then good riddance.

But, what if they were “NO” votes!!!???


November 5th, 2008

Or better yet, what if Obama sees to it that the govt. only grants “civil unions” to all couples, gay/straight, and that “marriage” is left up to religious and humanist organizations.

In other words, the govt. gets out of the “marriage” business and gives euqal benefits to all couples, regardless of gender coupling.


November 5th, 2008

We need to be realistic here: This is a constitutional amendment. That means no same-sex marriage in California, ever, until it is overturned either by the Supreme Court (unlikely, as long as Scalia & Co. are around) or by another amendment (even more unlikely, for at least 10-20 years).

And the fact that this thing passed in California sends a loud message to the religious right that these things can pass anywhere. It tells them that the winds are blowing in their favor, and they now have a mandate to roll back gay rights nationwide.

We can’t fall into pessimism because it will lead to dispair, but we likewise can’t fall into optimism because it will lead to overconfidence.

And those of you quoting MLK need to remember: The civil rights movement in the 60s also faced a lot of uphill battles, but constitutional amendments designed to deprive black people of rights that won in state after state were not among them.

And Wanda, I absolutely agree with you. It’s unwise, foolish and racist — or at least statistically illiterate — to pin the blame for Prop 8’s passage on black people. However, do you think that if given the opportunity, even white gay people would support a constitutional amendment depriving a racial minority of rights by a 70 percent margin?

Ken R

November 5th, 2008

“I think pulling the word marriage out of such legislation, and including language that does not require religious organizations to accept/support civil unions takes a significant bite out of the opposition’s argument.”

For some that maybe true. But for those conservative faiths like the fundamentalist/evangelical Christians, Catholics, Mormons, and the like do not want the law to recognize any type of gay relationship. They will fight us if we try to pass civil union amendments. They will claim civil unions are like marriages and state that those that have business that are not “religious organizations” will be forced to provide benefits to partnered workers against their own religious beliefs. And let us not forget about the children that will be harmed by these “evil” civil unions. This is in fact reality. I have been all over the net the past few weeks and many of these so-called religious people would like nothing more than for us to shut up and go back into the closet. Of course this is right after we are called perverted, sinful,and abominations to God.

Ken R

November 5th, 2008

“And the fact that this thing passed in California sends a loud message to the religious right that these things can pass anywhere. It tells them that the winds are blowing in their favor, and they now have a mandate to roll back gay rights nationwide.”

I agree. We must not be complacent with the rights we have already won. We must always be on alert.


November 6th, 2008

I can’t say whether Ben’s depiction of the campaign is true, but his suggestions do make sense. Simple fact: when your opponents have “co-opted” certain words, make use of them, because it might mean they work.

I believe in the traditional ideal of two spouses marrying for love and committing for life to raise children, and I wish to end gender-based restrictions that are preventing thousands of couples in this country from marrying. Marriage should be about love and commitment, not a mere matter of genitals.

I support free trade because I favour consumers over the corporate interest of the giant trade unions.

I support fox-hunting because I want to alleviate the suffering of innocent rodents…okay, that’s a little spurious.


November 6th, 2008

Having been active in the gay rights campaign for 30 years I can’t buy the argument that gays failed to reach out to the Black community. The reality is that the Black community is more fundamentalist than are whites and have been more antigay at all times. This is not an attitude that “crept” in there. It has resided there for as long as anyone knows.

While African-Americans have been subjected to horrible legal disadvantages and bigotry that doesn’t mean they are immune from bigotry themselves. And antigay bigotry has been, and is, rampant there. While it is to our advantage to reach out to everyone the responsibility for bigotry lies with the bigot not with their victim. Whites who attacked the rights of Blacks were responsible for their bigotry, we didn’t blame Blacks. And Blacks who vote agaisnt the rights of gays are responsible for their prejudices not gays. Don’t blame the victime here.

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