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Measuring the Impact of the LGBT Vote

Cross posted at Bloggernista

The Bilerico Project has an interesting guest post focusing on the impact of LGBT people voting as a block and what that can mean for our efforts to build political power and advance our fight for civil rights. The post is by Malcolm Lazin, director of Equality Forum, an international GLBT civil rights organization with an educational focus. 

Equality Forum reviewed the votes cast in seven distinct Philadelphia gay neighborhoods and found that Nutter garnered 74% of the vote in these neighborhoods. A review of the top 12 Philadelphia tracts identified in the U.S. Census as having the most same-sex couples residing in the same household found that Nutter received 69% of the vote in these census tracts.  The study compared the percentage of votes from the gay neighborhoods and census tracts to the percentage of votes each candidate received in the respective wards. The gay voting divisions averaged a 17% higher percentage vote for Nutter than the respective overall ward percentage.  The study is important both in its methodology and the result. It demonstrates that even in a field of gay-friendly candidates, a candidate who can provide the right cues can be the beneficiary of a GLBT block vote. Block voting increases a group’s political importance and power.

  While this study focuses on a mayoral primary in Philadelphia, it does have a lot to offer in terms of how we use electoral strategies to advance LGBT civil rights. Past exit polling from the last several national elections have shown that LGBT people make up at least 4% of the American voting population. That makes the LGBT vote as large as the Jewish vote, larger than the Asian-American vote and a bit lower than the Latino/a vote. That's enough to have a big impact on who will become the next president. Provided we actually mobilize and go to the polls. 

The HRC/Logo presidential forum scheduled for August 9th will offer a great opportunity to get more information on where the candidates stand on LGBT issues. The forum will be broadcast live on Logo and streamed via Logo's website. More info on how to watch here. You can submit your questions to the candidates here.

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