Somewhere in the midst of election analysis, I owe it to myself to get around to looking at the Maryland ballot measures in more detail. For now, this’ll tide me over …
Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington County), who led online petition drives to bring several measures before voters, said the analysis shows how the ballot questions transcended traditional political boundaries.
“Prince George’s County was strongly for Obama, yet it came out against changing the definition of marriage,” he said. “Anne Arundel County was pro-Romney, and it went for changing the definition of marriage. What we see are people voting values that don’t necessarily match up with what their party affiliation is.”
Exit polling done in Maryland on Election Day showed that same-sex marriage was overwhelmingly supported by voters younger than 40 and rejected by every other older group of voters. It won among white men and women and among black women, but it was rejected by black men. Voters who are college graduates, liberal, unmarried, high-income and do not regularly attend religious services were far more likely to support gay marriage than voters who are conservative, have incomes below $100,000 or are weekly church-goers.
I’m old enough to recognize that political coalitions that fragment over specific issues such as these have a hard time holding firm over time. You can review how the Religious Right movement picked away at pro-life Democrats beginning in the 70s for pretty decent lesson in how that works. But what seems to be interesting here (and even evidenced here) is that it doesn’t seem to be a one-way phenomenon. How much of a disparity the issue divide matters in each party’s coalition is still something to speculate on and possibly even measure more objectively. But either way, this should be worth remembering if we ever see changes in Democratic Party support levels among African-Americans, Hispanics … and possibly even Asians.