New Obama Voters And Prop 8

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The final analysis is pretty clear. There was a big overlap between new, largely black Obama voters and the forces for discrimination against gay married couples and our families:

When Proposition 8's passage first became apparent, it was widely assumed that hundreds of thousands of first-time or occasional voters had turned out to vote for Obama, then left the rest of their ballots blank, thus allowing more conservative voters to dominate ballot measures. In fact, however, there was very little voting drop-off.

There are still some late absentee and provisional ballots to be counted, but as of Monday, 10.96 million votes had been tallied in the presidential race and 10.85 million for and against Proposition 8.

The massive black turnout was the critical factor. And Obama's refusal to take a firm stand in the last few weeks of the campaign was instrumental to its passage:

Historically, black Californians have voted in about the same proportion as their population, in the 6 percent to 7 percent range, while Latinos, although more than a third of the state's population, have been about 13 percent of voters.  

Last week, however, 10 percent of voters were African American while 18 percent were Latino, and applying exit poll data to that extra turnout reveals that the pro-Obama surge among those two groups gave Proposition 8 an extra 500,000-plus votes, slightly more than the measure's margin of victory.

Black liberals were the critical voting bloc. Jewish liberals voted overwhelmingly against Prop 8, to offer a simple contrast. Obama has always opposed marriage equality, even splitting with his own church on the issue. In California, he got his way.

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