Gays vote for Bush

Chris Bull’s Campaign Notebook at has a fascinating set of statistics from exit polls indicating that 20% of self identified lesbian and gay voters voted for Bush, only a 5% decrease on his LGB vote in 2000.

"In 1984, when the Republican candidate for president, Barry Goldwater, voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the nation’s leading academic survey of voting behavior did not find a single African American who voted for Goldwater in their national sample. Why, after running a campaign that repeatedly attacked our right to marry did one in five LGB voters vote for Bush?"

One possibility: Even though he has a stellar gay rights record in the senate, Kerry spent little time courting gays and lesbians, fearing it would drive away anti-gay voters and associate the campaign with unpopular same-sex marriage. While one can’t really criticize Kerry’s strategy, one that the gay rights groups signed off on, it meant that he failed to capitalize fully on anti-Bush sentiment in this voting bloc.

The other explanation is the way in which security concerns dominated the campaign. In PlanetOut’s unscientific survey of our members, we found similar support for Bush. These voters argued that they were overlooking Bush’s anti-gay stance because they believed he was better equipped to fight the war on terrorism, a cause that affects everyone. Like it or not, that was the rationale.

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