November 03, 2004
Turnout & SSM
Posted by Gordon Smith

It's too early to offer in-depth analysis, but the big story from this election may be turnout and the decisive effect of same-sex marriage. The conventional wisdom was that turnout in excess of 120 million voters would result in a Kerry election. It appears that over 120 million people voted, but Kerry now looks to be headed toward defeat.

What happened? The evangelical vote. They delivered Florida and (probably) Ohio. And they delivered them on the strength of their opposition to same-sex marriage. The issue was on the ballot in eleven states, and voters in at least ten of those states are embracing state constitutional amendments to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

In an election that at most times appeared to be a referendum on the war in Iraq, the most important wedge issue appears to be same sex marriage. It is a night of big surprises.

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Comments (3)

1. Posted by on November 3, 2004 @ 4:01 | Permalink

Nope, not a mandate Bizarro Gordon. No way, no how. The strong feelings of the "other side" -- not calling them losers either -- if acknowledged by Bush and the Republicans, should make them proceed cautiously, if they are wise. A significant percentage of minorities (women, gays, Hispanics, blacks) voted overwhelmingly the other way. Not a mandate. Can we say after that bruising campaign, Hate Wins? More death is inevitable when guns trump reason? Who cares who dies as long as it isn't us and ours? All I'm saying, are these results are no mandate, no matter how you wish it to be...

2. Posted by Gordon Smith on November 3, 2004 @ 6:10 | Permalink

I am not sure whether this comment is misplaced, because I talk about the "mandate" elsewhere, not here. Anyway, if you think that I wish President Bush to have a mandate, you obviously haven't been paying attention to this blog. My observation about the mandate above was as follows: "this election has the making of a mandate." If you don't see that, then I suspect you are blinded by your own feelings of hatred towards President Bush. He is the first president since his father to win a majority of the popular vote, and both the Senate and the House remain in Republican hands -- indeed the Republicans gained seats in both. It is not much of a stretch to consider that a mandate, regardless of the feelings of the other side, and I would be shocked if President Bush didn't interpret it in that way.

Hate wins? Well, there was plenty of hate to go around in this election. Living as I do in heavily Democrat Madison, I have been disgusted by the intolerance and hatred shown by Kerry supporters toward all who disagree with them. I expect to see lots more of it now that their hopes have been dashed.

3. Posted by danithew on November 3, 2004 @ 7:39 | Permalink


That is an interesting idea -- that same-sex marriage was the issue that motivated Christian evangelicals to vote for Bush and to help him win the election. It's something to ponder. My take all along has been that the big issue is the war in Iraq, the war on terrorism, and how people perceive these matters. And then I think domestic economics was the second matter. What people think about SSM seems less important a factor to me in the presidential election.

But still, it's an interesting thought. If I lived in the South maybe I'd have a better grasp of how big an issue that is. I still remember living in Atlanta for a summer and seeing all the little placards with the scripture from Joshua that said "As for me and my house, we will choose the Lord." So maybe you have a point after all, at least in that part of the country.

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