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The Lavender Vote: Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals in American Electoral Politics

Copyright Date: 1996
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    The Lavender Vote
    Book Description:

    In the quarter century since the Stonewall riots in New York City's Greenwich Village launched the national gay-rights movement in earnest, LGB voters have steadily expanded their political influence. The Lavender Vote is the first full- length examination of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals as a factor in American elections. Mark Hertzog here describes the differences in demographics, attitudes, and voting behavior between self-identified bisexuals and homosexuals and the rest of the voting population. He shows that lavender self- identifiers comprise a distinctive voting bloc equal in numbers to Latino voters, more liberal across the board on domestic social issues (though not necessarily on economic or national security issues) than non-gay voters, and extremely unified in high-salience elections. Further, lavender voters, contrary to popular belief, are up for grabs between the two major parties.Offering a clear and thorough explanation of LGB voting tendencies, this volume will be must-reading for elected officials, candidates for office, and all those interested in learning about LGB voters.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-7321-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
    (pp. IX-X)
  4. ONE Virgin Ground
    (pp. 1-15)

    On election night 1992, as Bill Clinton savored his victory, a minority of Americans long chastised and, until recent times, usually invisible savored a great victory as well. For the first time in their history, the American people had elected as their president a man who had openly and strongly campaigned for the support of homosexuals and bisexuals.

    The new president's longtime friend David Mixner, a gay California businessman who had helped raise an estimated $2 million from the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community for Clinton (Gallagher 1992), proudly if erroneously claimed that one of every six Clinton voters was...

  5. TWO From “Lavender” People to “Lavender” Voters
    (pp. 16-50)

    The case of lesbians, bisexuals, and gay men bears particular interest in a number of ways for those of us interested in why, and for whom, Americans vote. Like African Americans and indigenous Americans, homosexual and bisexual Americans have been subject not merely to widespread social rejection and disapproval, but also to mandatory legal disabilities, and unlike African Americans and indigenous Americans, they remain subject to such legal disabilities throughout the country today. The “mark of oppression” remains upon them in numerous ways discussed below, and alienation (see Almond and Verba 1963; Easton 1965) from both the system of government...

  6. THREE The Sexuality Gap: The 1990 National Exit Polls
    (pp. 51-95)

    This is the first of four chapters presenting the results of the study of LGB voting behavior. The first two of these chapters present data from the 1990 midterm general elections for members of Congress and for state governors. The present chapter discusses the results of two simultaneous versions of the national exit poll, which give us the first look ever at lesbian and gay (though not bisexual) voters across the land. Chapter 4 goes on to look at the aggregated results from twenty-one states in which the gay/lesbian self-identification question was asked, and at three states in particular for...

  7. FOUR A View from the States
    (pp. 96-140)

    It was established in the preceding chapter that in November 1990 there was a distinctive “gay and lesbian vote” in America. Self-identified lesbians and gay men were significantly more liberal, particularly on domestic social issues, than were other voters with the same demographic characteristics, and lesbian self-identifiers were profoundly more likely still to call themselves “strong feminists” than were women who did not identify as lesbians. This augmented liberalism and feminism in turn directly affected party affiliation, retrospective evaluations of the president and the economy, and vote choice in contests for both houses of Congress and for state governorships.


  8. FIVE Can the Activists Turn Out the Vote? The Case of Deborah Glick
    (pp. 141-174)

    In the exit polls discussed in the last two chapters, indeed in most political surveys, voters are asked about their demographic characteristics and certain of their political attitudes and affiliations. It is a rare survey, however, that asks about specific influences on vote choice and voter mobilization that derive directly from the voter’s own neighborhood. Such influences include contacts by specific candidates’ organizations, activity by certain neighborhood political groups not affiliated with the candidate, and endorsements, especially those of general circulation newspapers. For our ends, we are interested specifically in the effect of endorsements and electoral activity by political activists...

  9. SIX Into the Mainstream: The Lavender Vote Helps Elect a President
    (pp. 175-208)

    There is no serious question but that the 1992 presidential election was the most important up to that time for the gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities in the United States. As discussed earlier in this work, for the first time the major presidential contenders gave serious attention, positive or negative, to the LGB rights movement and its political goals. As widely reported on election night and in the days thereafter, 72 percent of self-identified lesbian, bisexual, and gay voters surveyed gave their support to Bill Clinton.¹ This figure led to the exuberant, if erroneous, claim by David Mixner and others...

  10. SEVEN What It All Means and Why It Matters
    (pp. 209-232)

    This study was undertaken to find out whether we have overlooked a significant factor in determining whether, and how, Americans cast their votes: the factor of sexual identity. It has long been speculated that a “lavender vote” exists that leans strongly toward liberal and Democratic Party candidates. My aim was to see how many voters would identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual; whether and to what extent they differed in their demographics, attitudes, and voting behavior from the rest of the American electorate; whether in fact they voted as a cohesive bloc; and what the underlying reasons were for...

  11. Appendix: Methods
    (pp. 233-244)
  12. NOTES
    (pp. 245-260)
    (pp. 261-274)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 275-278)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 279-279)