Noted by several luminary bloggers, we have a new blogger in the ‘sphere. The Backseat Philospher sounds like he’s going to make a name for himself. Definitely on my daily reading list.
Andrew Sullivan could certainly not be called a supporter of President Bush. He’s been bandying about the notion – picked up by many in the press and on the left – that it was the issue of gay marriage that got all those Bush supporters to the polls. (Me, I say that’s ridiculous and it has so far remained unmentioned by any of the Bush supporters I know.) There are a large number of people who agree with me and Mr. Sullivan is posting their e-mails on his site, too. Rather than use annecdotal information like I’ve got, one of his readers offers this analysis supporting the opinion that the issue of gay marriage was not the big factor it’s claimed to be.
|::::::::||EMAIL OF THE DAY: “So lots of pundits, including you, have been attributing Bush’s success nationally to his having excited the base over the gay marriage issue. In particular, the strategy of using the ballot initiatives in 11 states, thereby dragging religious conservatives to the polls to vote against marriage and at the same time check the box next to Bush, is regarded as having been particularly effective.
That is, of course, fiction. Bush improved his share of the popular vote by 3.2% from 2000 to 2004 (47.9 in 2000, 51.1 in 2004). Now how did he do in the states which had anti-marriage ballot initiatives?
Only in two states (Utah and Oklahoma) did he gain a significantly higher vote share than he did nationwide. Maybe comparing to the national popular vote is misleading, so let’s compare each of those states to a neighboring, politically-similar state which did not have an anti-marriage initiative on the ballot:
Missouri +2.9 (AR +3.0)
Again, not much. In only 3 cases (UT-WY, ND-SD, and OK-TX) did Bush improve a lot more in a state with an anti-marriage initiative than he did in the state with which it was paired. And, in the case of North Dakota, the hotly contested Senate race in South Dakota may have skewed things a bit; a better comparison might be Nebraska, where Bush was +3.0% better in 2004 than in 2000, a better improvement than what he got in North Dakota.
It’s convenient to think that this was the issue of the election because it has the double impact of painting Bush supporters as a whole as bigotted homophobes (by extension making Kerry supporters enlightened sophisticates) and discounting completely the war on terror and in Iraq as a principle motivating factor for people voting for Bush. I’d also add that most people I know didn’t have just 1 issue in voting for the man. Right behind the President’s role in the war comes either the belief that this administration will be better able to recover the economy or the lack of faith in Kerry’s ability to lead with integrity. I have ideas about why the gay marriage amendments passed by the margins they did. I’ll be writing about that another day. This constant striving to explain the President’s support by leaning on the “bigot, homophobe” theory is just wishful thinking.
Hat tip: Power Line