November 1, 2012 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Trans voters excluded in election exit poll
Voting booth, gay news, Washington Blade

As it has in the past, the LGB vote will be counted in national exit polls, but questioners won’t be asked if they are transgender. (Photo by Serenity via Wikimedia)

A national polling firm retained by a consortium of five TV networks and the Associated Press will include gay, lesbian, and bisexual voters in its presidential election exit poll on Nov. 6.

But Joe Lenski, executive vice president of the New Jersey based Edison Research polling firm, told the Blade on Thursday that the exit poll won’t seek to identify transgender voters through a lengthy questionnaire given to voters as they leave polling places across the country.

“We’ve tried to keep that wording as consistent as possible across elections and that’s the way it’s been asked in the last decade at least,” he said.

Since the early 1990s, a consortium of networks including NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and Fox along with the Associated Press has hired a polling firm to conduct a national exit poll for each presidential election. The consortium has also commissioned an exit poll for the midterm congressional elections during that same period.

In the 2000, 2004, and 2008 presidential elections, 4 percent of those participating in the exit poll answered yes to the question, “Are you gay, lesbian, or bisexual?”

In 2008, 70 percent of those self-identifying as “LGB” said they voted for Barack Obama for president and 27 percent said they voted for Republican presidential candidate John McCain, according to results of the exit poll obtained and published by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.

In 2004, 77 percent of the LGB participants said they voted for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, with 23 percent saying they voted to re-elect President George W. Bush, information released by Roper show.

In 2000, 71 percent of the GLB respondents said they voted for then Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic candidate, and 25 percent said they voted for then Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the Republican. Four percent reported voting for Ralph Nader and 0 percent said they voted for Patrick Buchanan, the data released by Roper show.

Lenski said some media reports that the exit poll would be scaled back this year due to budget cuts at the networks don’t appear to be accurate.

“We actually are lowering the sample sizes in the non-competitive states and increasing them in the competitive states and the national survey,” he said. “So we actually have more precincts and more interviews that are going to be conducted in the national survey this year than four years ago.”

He said in-person exit polling will take place in 350 locations around the country with over 3,000 telephone interviews of early voters scheduled to take place. Over 20,000 voters will be in the sample nationally, Lenski said.

All participants in the exit poll, including the LGB participants, will be asked questions on a wide range of issues and demographic factors such as their party affiliation; their age, race, sex, income, and level of education; and the most important quality they feel a presidential candidate should have, Lenski said.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

7 Comments
  • Hello, trans people vote and it's past time we be included in those stats..

    • The number of trans people is probably small if "all LGBT" are 4% of voters, but it is of interest to see if "T" votes differently from "LGB". Just because data has been collected in one way in the past does not mean that it should not be collected differently in the future. After all, "T" people have existed in all societies throughout all history, so it is about time that someone aside from trans people noted this fact.

    • Rusty Mae Moore Small? Some estimates have Trans up to 10 times larger than gay or lesbian (the Australian figures put self-identified G&L at a mere 2%-3% of population) about equal with the broader same-sex attracted levels (Australian figures put that at 10%-20%, though most don't identify themselves as bisexual). And then there's the approximate 4% of live births who are Intersex. So whether it's the APAs conservative estimate of Trans at 3% of the population, UK figures suggesting more like 6%-10% or Thai figures of 10%-20% the conservative estimate is still as high or higher than the self-identified gays and lesbians. Course a whole lot of people want those people and the demographic numbers we have about them to stay deep in the closet… cause those numbers equal power.

    • @Bayne: Very interesting. I stand corrected. Thanks for posting this.

  • is this story a joke? nobody is being excluded from this pointless poll which is basically just a forecast for the real poll, they just aren’t /specifically segregating/ the poll numbers for trans people… plenty of other groups which are smaller or larger than the number of ‘trans’ people are also not being specifically segregated for analysis purposes. so what?

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