Prop 8 Study Confirms Minorities As Swing Vote

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Shortly after the passage of Prop 8 an exit poll showed support among African-American voters to be at 70%.  I don’t remember the exact sample size, but I remember noticing at the time that the sample size was so small that the 70% figure was not going to be realistic.  So now a gay rights group has sponsored a bigger study and found that support among African-Americans for Prop 8 was “only” 58% and concludes that the ethnic differences in votes were “more narrow” than previously reported and “do not merit the amount of attention that they received.”  This is being reported by the Sac Bee as proof that support among African-American and Latino voters was not significantly different from other groups when adjusted for other factors such as frequency of church attendance and age.


Numbers don’t lie, but sometimes people lie about numbers.  The study shows that Prop 8 failed among White and Asian voters with 48-49% yes votes, but passed among African-American and Latino votes with 58-59% yes votes.  That is still a huge difference.  Frequent church attendance was a better predictor of Prop 8 voting (70% yes for weekly church attenders, less than 50% yes for every other group), but the ‘correction’ for this factor is only a confirmation that proportionately more Latino and African-American voters are weekly church attenders.

Where the researchers throw a bone to their gay-rights sponsors is in noticing the trend toward support of gay marriage by comparing 2008’s Prop 8 with 2000’s Prop 22 (a drop in opposition to gay marriage from 61% to 52%).  This coincides with the age factor with Prop 8, where voters over 65 were 67% yes voters, and every age group under 65 were less than 50% yes voters.  Taking the trends together makes it clear that gay marriage will be the law in this state in the near future, with or without the correct ruling from the State Supreme Court.

But the broader political ramifications of the split-ticket among minority voters (Obama vs. Prop 8) is still enormous.  It means that minority voters have a stronger affinity with their churches than with their political party on social issues, and it points to a survival strategy for the GOP as the GOP base of protestant white suburban management types becomes an ever-shrinking minority in 21st Century California.

About Ron St. John