Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Gay Marriage Ban -- Number Crunching

Just a little bit of number crunching:

In 10 out of the 11 states* that passed gay marriage bans, the percentage of the electorate that voted for the ban exceeded the percentage of the electorate that voted for President Bush.

  • St GM% GB% 2-3 %K
  • MS 86% 60% 26% 65%
  • AR 75% 54% 21% 47%
  • GA 76% 58% 18% 44%
  • KY 75% 60% 15% 38%
  • OK 76% 66% 10% 29%
  • ND 73% 63% 10% 28%
  • OH 62% 51% 11% 22%
  • MI 59% 48% 11% 22%
  • MT 67% 59% 08% 21%
  • OR 57% 48% 09% 17%

First column identifies the state, the second the percentage of the electorate that voted for the gay marriage ban, the third the percentage of the electorate that vote for Bush, and the fourth is the difference between columns two and three. The fifth column is the key to the number crunching here.

Assume that every single voter than voted for Bush voted for the gay marriage ban. That's relatively unlikely, but assume it anyways. The number in the fourth column then, is not just the difference between the ban percentage and the Bush percentage, but is the percentage of the electorate that voted for Kerry and for the ban. This is generally between 10% and 25% (with a mean of 14%) -- not an insignificant part of the electorate. And this is basically the minimum percentage of the electorate that did so, because we assumed that all Bush voters voted for the ban. (Third party candidates are being ignored, but I think this is relatively safe -- collectively they only got about 1% of the vote in each state.)

The fifth column, then is the percentage of the electorate that voted for both Kerry and the ban divided by the percentage that voted for Kerry. That is, it is the minimum percentage of the Kerry vote that voted for the ban. This ranges from 17% to 65%; the mean is 33%; the median 28.5%. This means that roughly one in three Kerry voters in the states that based the ban voted for the ban.

It seems to me that this seriously weakens the "culture war" theory of the 2004 election -- and even more so the Democratic talking point that Bush's victory was about gay marriage.

*The exception was Utah, which gave Bush his largest percentage of the vote and where the ban ran five percent behind Bush. There, assuming that every Kerry voter voted against the ban, seven percent of Bush voters voted against the ban also.

#Also, please excuse my non-existent html skills, which prevent me from setting up a proper table.

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