Analyzing the 2012 gay marriage vote

Since the election I’ve published several pieces analyzing the Question 6 vote in Maryland as well as voting patterns in Minnesota and Maine, where gay marriage was also on the ballot.

* In the November 30 Washington Post “Outlook” section, I argued that the pattern seen in many affluent, educated Maryland suburbs — same-sex marriage running stronger than did President Obama — was also found in Minnesota and Maine. This pattern indicates the presence in all three states of substantial numbers of Republican “ticket-splitters” who voted both for Mitt Romney and for (or, in Minnesota, at least not against) freedom to marry.

* On Dec. 13 at I published a piece proposing that the perennial hope of winning black and Hispanic votes by emphasizing social conservatism is the cargo cult of the Republican Party. In particular, I analyze precinct results from Prince George’s County and find that the most socially conservative black neighborhoods, as measured by resistance to Question 6, show no more willingness to vote for Republican candidates than neighborhoods that are more socially liberal in their leanings. Links/reactions: David Frum, Steve Miller. On the miserable results obtained by the Maryland GOP for its strategy this year of running hard on social conservatism, see this excellent post-mortem by Kevin Waterman.

* I discussed some of my findings on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” and in a Cato Institute podcast. Coverage appeared in various places including Box Turtle Bulletin, and a reprint in the Bangor Daily News.

* For my first two pieces on the Maryland results, published in the Huffington Post, follow this link.

For readers who would like to check my numbers, or simply investigate these questions further, here are some sources. Maryland precinct results for most counties are available at the election websites of the various counties: thus Prince George’s, Baltimore, Frederick, and so forth. To match polling places with neighborhoods, look for files with details on polling places (P.G., Baltimore, Frederick; map file for P.G.)

Minnesota data is here. On Maine, I worked with the convenient platform provided by the Bangor Daily News, but checked against state results here.

The Fox News exit polls I mention are here.

And some other resources: WP map, Maryland Republicans for Marriage Equality maps, city of Baltimore result map courtesy Sen. Bill Ferguson, more on exit polls.

— Walter Olson


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