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08/08/2007

Poll: Would HRC support be Hill's Achilles heel?

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 24-6Yet another poll regarding gays and politics has been released today. This one is a Qunnipiac University study, which indicates that 54% of Ohio swing state voters are unaffected by campaign endorsements from gay groups, 34% are less likely to support such a campaign, and 10% are more likely to back the gay-endorsed candidate. Numbers among voters in two other key swing states, Pennsylvania and Florida, were nearly identical.

So what does this all mean? Well, it means that the vast majority of voters (or at least ones in the swing states) are highly unlikely to discredit a candidate because HRC deems them worthy for office. Moreover, it's hard to even be offended by the ones who responded negatively, as it's impossible to specifically connect the endorsement to their poll responded. It's likely that the 30ish% that do say they'd be less likely to vote for the gay-supported candidate are the type who wouldn't have ever considered voting for that particular candidate in the first place. After all, it's not like a candidate claims an endorsement from a gay group by being just sort of benignly tolerant. They get such a backing by supporting hate crimes legislation, the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and DOMA (ideally), gay marriage (ideally), and other pro-gay concepts that those who would be turned off by a gay endorsement would surely not be so fond of in the first place. If the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce's blessing is enough to make a person write off the blessed candidate, then that person's mind was more than likely made up long ago!

So to us, really these poll numbers would seem to be just a reflection of what we already know about America: That those who are staunchly opposed to gays are actually the minority of the population, they just happen to vote in vastly greater numbers than the complacent folks who live in the middle and the pro-gay folks (especially younger ones) who simply can't be bothered to drive their apathetic selves to a polling location. And it would only reinforce that the 60ish% of us who either strongly or benignly support gays' right to peaceful coexistence must get out there and cast our ballot, no matter how much it may not seem to matter. Our apathy is our own worst enemy; the "moral" minority's ability to rally their troops is their strong point. 2006 showed a shifting of the tide. Whatdya say that in 2008, we create a wave that fully washes away the old trend.

Qunnipiac Swing State Poll [Qunnipiac]

***It should be noted that we would seem to be in the minority on this one, with most citing the 34% negative number vs the 10% positive number as showing that gay support could be a liability. However, we stand by the claim that this 34% is never going to be pro-gay, and the combined 54% and 10% numbers are promising.

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