McCain Gets More Gay Votes Than Bush

I meant to follow up in a more timely way on an earlier post about the conservative gay vote. From that earlier post:

Along the same lines, I also want to note estimates that nearly one out of every four gay voters pulled the lever for Bush in 2004 (as did I), despite Bush’s odious support for the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. (As for this year’s GOP nominee: “In the Senate, McCain has been an ardent opponent of a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, arguing his case on federalist grounds.”)

Today I belatedly found a GayPatriot post from last week, quoting the Log Cabin Republicans as saying that McCain got about 27% of the LGBT vote. This is clearly up from what Bush got in 2004, but the Log Cabin Republicans estimated Bush’s tally in 2004 as 19%. Where I say “nearly one out of every four” up above, the actual tally was 23%, so there’s a discrepancy.

Turns out that if you stick consistently with CNN exit poll data, the numbers are:

This progression makes sense to me — Bush got higher support overall in 2004 than in 2000, but his support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage cost him some votes among gays. McCain’s opposition to the amendment helped him hold on to a few more gay conservatives. The striking thing is that the one-out-of-four ratio, in rounded terms, has been quite steady.

So where did that 19% number the Log Cabin Republicans cited come from? Annoyingly, they kind of made it up, averaging the 23% CNN number with a 17% result from an LATimes exit poll, and deciding that was “about 20%,” which somehow became 19% in their earlier missive. Hmm.

What’s the point of all this? Well, it’s about me being defensive, I suppose. The Web Goddess and I have been involved for years in our church’s efforts in support of full marriage equality for same-sex couples. (The Web Goddess designed the shirt above — click it to order a copy from Cafe Press, at no profit to us.) Some gay friends have taken issue, politely, with my support for McCain. I’m just trying to show that a vote for a Republican shouldn’t be considered beyond the pale by people who support gay equality. Even in our deep-blue town of Maplewood, I know at least one gay couple who are “out” Republicans.

I suppose there’s also a message here for those who would caricature all gay people as being driven primarily by their sexuality. In each election cited above, of course, any gay voter who voted primarily on the basis of issues important to gay people would have voted for the Democrat. But one out of four gay voters felt strongly enough about other issues — presumably national security or taxes — to vote for the less gay-friendly candidate.