Same-Sex Marriage and the 2004 Election
I've written ad nauseam about Election 2004, still of the conviction that the issue of same-sex marriage (and its connection to the broader issue of"moral values") had an important impact on the outcome. I have always believed"that other issues, especially the war, had an effect in shoring up Bush's winning coalition." Still,"the anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives were promoted by GOP strategists to bolster one aspect of the winning Bush coalition"; without"the socially conservative vote," which supported those initiatives, Bush could never have won such states as Ohio—indispensable to his national electoral victory.
One recent analysis of the Presidential election comes to a similar though much more informed statistical conclusion. Gregory B. Lewis, in the April 2005 issue of PS: Political Science & Politics, concludes that the"same-sex marriage" issue"mattered ... less than some issues but more than most. ... At the state level, even after controlling for Bush's vote share in 2000 and the general conservatism of the state population, popular disapproval of homosexuality influenced Bush's share of the 2004 vote and may have contributed to party switches by New Hampshire and New Mexico." Lewis admits that"[t]he vote was close in Ohio despite relatively high disapproval of homosexuality." But the question remains:"Would it have turned out differently without same-sex marriage on the agenda?"
That question will inspire many different answers. But I think the evidence strongly suggests that without the support of socially conservative Protestant and Catholic voters, who came out en masse to vote against same-sex marriage, Bush would have lost to Kerry.
In the same issue of PS, even those with a dissenting view (such as Hillygus and Shields) argue that the"values-based appeals," though not the only crucial issue, served to reinforce Bush's appeal among his supporters. As I have argued for months, this was part of the Rove strategy: without that support among Bush's core constituency, Bush does not win re-election.
Whatever one's views on this subject, I think the implications are becoming clearer with each passing week. Social conservatives believe that the Bush administration owes them. Of greater importance is the apparent belief of the administration that social conservatives are owed.
Cross-posted to Notablog.
Kenneth R Gregg - 4/28/2005
I was reading through the writings of abolitionists recently and some of the books on the Southern responses to abolitionism and came across an interesting and somewhat similar response. William Lloyd Garrison became interested in Paine's freethought writings and later in his career would use his critiques of Christianity in his arguments in favor of abolition.
Once the Southern supporters of slavery heard of this, they would constantly use it as an example of the "anti-Christian" nature of the abolitionist movement. This claim was one of the major issues made by the Southern leadership in making a case for active opposition to the diabolical nature of the Northern agitation.
As far as I recall offhand, the only active Southern freethinking abolitionists were William S. Bailey in Kentucky (who is almost unknown today) and Stephen Pearl Andrews from Texas (who deserves far more credit than he has received).
Just a thought.
Brian Radzinsky - 4/27/2005
We already know that there is a large amount of bigotry out there. But the dubious thing that the GOP did was pander in a why that hasn't been pandered to in years of American electoral history. I think it's already general consensus that many of these same social cons are much more economically statist than the administration *portrays* itself to be. Yet they were able to add enough fuel to the fire that those evangelical voters turned out despite their disillusionment with the administration.