Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Proposition 8's Passage Due to Older People

There has been speculation that the large African-American turnout that helped elect Barack Obama may have had something to do with the passage of Proposition 8 in California. I am sorry to say I thought that may have been a factor myself, perhaps due to religious reasons.

However, Nate Silver, creator of, he who forecast Obama's election so accurately, says that this is not the case.

His assessment, based on exit polls, is:

"Certainly, the No on 8 folks might have done a better job of outreach to California's black and Latino communities. But the notion that Prop 8 passed because of the Obama turnout surge is silly. Exit polls suggest that first-time voters -- the vast majority of whom were driven to turn out by Obama (he won 83 percent [!] of their votes) -- voted against Prop 8 by a 62-38 margin. More experienced voters voted for the measure 56-44, however, providing for its passage.

...At the end of the day, Prop 8's passage was more a generational matter than a racial one. If nobody over the age of 65 had voted, Prop 8 would have failed by a point or two.

Silver expects that because it is the older voters who ensured the passage of Proposition 8, that eventually their influence will decline and same-sex marriage will be the law of the land.

"The good news for supporters of marriage equity is that -- and there's no polite way to put this -- the older voters aren't going to be around for all that much longer, and they'll gradually be cycled out and replaced by younger voters who grew up in a more tolerant era. Everyone knew going in that Prop 8 was going to be a photo finish -- California might be just progressive enough and 2008 might be just soon enough for the voters to affirm marriage equity. Or, it might fall just short, which is what happened. But two or four or six or eight years from now, it will get across the finish line."

Let's hope Proposition 8 is reversed a lot sooner than that, however. The lawsuits that have already been filed to invalidate the proposition may do the trick.

In the meantime, Connecticut began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples today, a month after the state Supreme Court had ruled that gay couples could marry.

We must work to ensure that everyone has an equal right to marry the person of their choice and make sure that this issue becomes a priority in the Obama administration.

And if anyone missed Keith Olbermann's excellent and moving "Special Comment" on this issue, here it is:


Anonymous said...

Younger voters often tend to vote liberal but a sizable number shift to more conservative positions as they get older. So I wouldn't rely on old people dying off as a strategy for winning.

Mauigirl said...

That may be true in some areas (attitudes towards taxes, fiscal responsibility in particular) but in the case of equality among races and sexual orientations, I think that the younger generation won't change their attitudes. The reason so many older people still harbor prejudices is that their life experiences didn't really expose them to people who were different from themselves. People are always suspicious of the unknown, the other.

Now, so many kids are growing up with friends of all different races, who are both straight and gay, they realize we're really all the same underneath. This type of openness to diversity is not the kind of thing people age out of. Thank goodness.

Anonymous said...

A mutual friend of ours had a very good post on this as well - check out (I don't know how to do a direct link).

I didn't get a chance to see Keith when he presented although I had heard comments on it - very persuasive and moving. I just don't understand people's attitude towards this.

One of my favorite buttons said it best...."I may be straight but I'm not narrow."

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This new analysis makes a lot of sense. I also agree that people will not "grow out of this."

Randal Graves said...

Not all of us, mauigirl. Remember, Cheney is a robot.

Mauigirl said...

Friend #2, that post by Lookydaddy was excellent. I just don't understand the attitude these people have.

Ruth, thanks, I hope they don't. To me this is just one more civil right that will eventually become law and then be taken for granted like everything else people get used to.

Randal, even robots rust eventually, don't they?

Christopher said...

The so-called "greatest generation," isn't.

These homophobes can't pass on quick enough.