August 12, 2016 at 12:16 pm EST | by Mark Lee
Will Clinton garner lowest share of gay votes ever?
Hillary Clinton, election 2016, gay vote, gay news, Washington Blade, LGBT voters

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

We’re entering the final throes of a national election enthusing few.

Dominated by dramatic campaign surprises, there are likely more to come. In this topsy-turvy unconventional election, one such possibility stands stark.

Win or lose, Hillary Clinton may garner the lowest share of LGBT votes in modern history.

Democrats appear keenly aware of this potential outcome. In an interview on the closing night of the Democratic convention, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker expressed alarm at indications of a lower level of support for Clinton among gays than is typical for a Democratic nominee. Booker, who had been a leading vice-presidential contender, characterized the lack of robust enthusiasm for Clinton among LGBT voters and a perceived rise in support for Donald Trump as “terrifying.”

According to exit polls by Gallup, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and other survey firms, one-in-four-or-more LGBT voters have for two decades consistently cast ballots for Republican nominees, while one-third supported GOP Senate and House candidates in the most recent mid-term election.

Although polling is sporadic and limited due the tiny electoral cohort LGBT voters comprise, Trump has polled among gay voters at levels matching Romney in 2012 and McCain in 2008.

Although this election is notable for having become a vomit-inducing roller-coaster ride, Trump has polled near or at this standard historical level among LGBT voters in recent months, particularly in the wake of the attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Clinton’s support, however, has registered significantly below previous Democratic candidates. In Reuters/Ipsos surveys, it dropped below 60 percent throughout July.

Similar to all Americans, one-quarter of LGBT voters indicate they don’t support either major party nominee. The high degree of dissatisfaction with both of these notorious grifters has the net effect of lowering Clinton’s tally of LGBT votes.

An astounding 41 percent of Americans have recently said they are having difficulty choosing between Clinton and Trump because they believe neither would make a good president. LGBT voters are undoubtedly among them.

When given the option, 13 percent told a polling firm aligned with Democrats they’d prefer a giant meteor hitting earth than being forced to chose either Clinton or Trump. The disaffected among those under 30 represents a plurality. With the largest bloc of voters now self-identifying as independents, more than a quarter of the unaffiliated would chose annihilation.

Although huge super-majorities consider Clinton untrustworthy and dishonest, and fully two-thirds say the country is headed in the wrong direction, the renegade yet equally distrusted Trump has managed to make an establishment-aligned career politician the more sympathetic candidate despite voters otherwise clamoring for change.

The legalization of same-sex marriage and the resulting or inevitable civil protections that conveys, alongside other equality victories, portends LGBT voters evolving to a less predictable single-issue voting bloc. As cultural integration broadens, LGBT voting patterns are expected to gradually transform over mainstream issues.

It may be that Trump will do no better and may do worse among LGBT voters than is common for Republican presidential candidates. Nothing is certain in this certainly weird election and Trump continuing to exhibit erratic campaign behavior could be his demise.

In the end, though, whether Trump under or over performs among LGBT voters may have little effect on the vote share Clinton wins.

If LGBT voters in the vast majority of pre-determined “blue” and “red” states cast their ballot for a minor party candidate knowing it would not affect the outcome, gay vote shares for both Clinton and Trump would diminish. Voters in New York, for example, view Clinton with more disdain than any statewide Democratic candidate in more than a century.

With both candidates languishing in the gutter on favorability, the prospect of lessened LGBT balloting for them, and especially Clinton, looms large.

Whether 2016 represents the advent or the delay of LGBT realignment borne of assimilation, and whether Clinton’s unpopularity suppresses her LGBT vote share, may be the biggest takeaways for the gay community.

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

12 Comments
  • Responsible members of the gay community will turn out and vote for the democratic nominee in numbers large enough to help her achieve victory, as per usual bearing the burden of advancing and protecting LGBT equality for those of us who don’t vote, those who of us who indulge themselves by voting for a minor party candidate or worse those who us who actually believe the republican nominee would lift a finger to help us, be it McCain, Romney or Trump.

    So yes it might be hard, but we will we hold our nose and vote for Hillary. Why? Because we know that the single biggest threat to LGBT equality is a shift in the make-up of the Supreme Court to more conservative leaning justices. Almost every advancement in equality gay or otherwise has emanated from the judicial branch, not the legislative branch. So save the “realignment borne of assimilation” drivel for some night when you’re keynoting a Log Cabin event. This election isn’t about somebody occupying the White House for 4 years. It’s about who will be sitting behind a bench with a lifetime appointments.

    • If I could hold my nose and vote for John Kerry I can certainly do it for Hillary Clinton.

      As for keynoting a Log Cabin event, did you know that they’ve hired Newt Gingrich for their next event? Yeah, long-time anti-gay Gingrich. That one. It’s clear that Log Cabin isn’t made up of pro-gay conservatives. It’s made up of anti-gay homosexuals.

  • Mark Lee is whistling past the graveyard. It would be remarkable indeed if record numbers of gay voters opted for a party whose platform is the most intolerant ever, despite openly gay DC delegate Rachel Hoff’s valiant efforts to soften the language. Notwithstanding a quarter century of Republican smears and endless partisan investigations that Republicans keep repeating in hope of getting a result more to their liking, Secretary Clinton is beating Mr. Trump in the polls for which Lee seems to have such a fetish. This suggests that the nominees are not equally unpalatable. The better question is how big a blowout the Democratic victory will be, given Trump’s continuing meltdown. As a lifelong assimilationist myself, I do not recognize Lee’s version. With the Supreme Court at stake, and a GOP still obsessed with attacking gay families, pretending that our struggle is over is so preposterous as to reveal its true purpose: as a thin veil to conceal unacknowledged privilege. The point is not that LGBT rights are magically secure, or that they can somehow be walled off from the rights of all the other minorities under threat, but that Lee does not much care. He likes to rail against liberal thought police; but if that is such a problem, why does his sneering illiberalism continue to be printed?

  • Mark Lee is a tool of the GOP and his articles often a laxative to the GLBT community!

  • Just because the wisdom of Im Just Sayin bears repeating…
    **
    Why? Because we know that the single biggest threat to LGBT equality is a shift in the make-up of the Supreme Court to more conservative leaning justices. Almost every advancement in equality gay or otherwise has emanated from the judicial branch, not the legislative branch. So save the “realignment borne of assimilation” drivel for some night when you’re keynoting a Log Cabin event. This election isn’t about somebody occupying the White House for 4 years. It’s about who will be sitting behind a bench with a lifetime appointments.**

  • I think that most lbgt people will understand that if Trump is elected and appoints Scalia-like justices, as he has promised to do, that we will be watching all the gains we have made in the courts evaporate and quickly. Those were almost all 5-4 decisions and could be overturned with just one seat switching from liberal (on our issues) to conservative. Kennedy and Ginsberg are both getting up there. That would be disastrous for us. It’s one thing to be frustrated with “politics as usual” and quite another to roll the dice and risk a roll-back of our rights.

  • Is Bruce Majors controlling Lee’s brain via remote control?

  • How to get a column in a gay paper when you have nothing intelligent to say: Crank out crap that sides with the enemy so you claim to be ‘edgy’ and ‘independent’ when, in reality, you’re just a Roy Cohn wannabe.

  • Is it senility with you?

  • MAY garner, POTENTIAL outcome, It MAY be, IF LGBT voters, WHETHER 2016 represents, MAY be the takeaway…

    Large outfits at least have the decency to label it the Opinion section.

  • Who wrote this? Every gay person knows Clinton has our back. I only know one gay guy who’s a GOP supporter and he’s 35, lives with his “roommate” of a decade yet still tells his mama he’s straight. (He needs a good therapist.) I’m not too worried about Hillary and the LGBT vote.

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