Remember those Yes on 8 TV campaign ads that tried to convince parents that legalizing gay marriage would turn their children gay? Some reporters recently analyzed the Prop 8 election results and found that these ads may have had a much larger impact on voters than we first thought. (@latimes)
Back in November 2008, when Prop 8 was passed, there was a big backlash against African-American voters. A lot of people in the gay community made a bad assumption and accused African-Americans who came out to the polls to support Obama of helping get Prop 8 approved. But the most recent analysis refutes that. I realize some readers skip over large sections of quotes from articles, but read this one. It’s important:
One big question after the election: Who moved? Six weeks before the vote, Proposition 8 was too close to call. But in the final weeks, supporters pulled ahead, and by election day, the outcome was all but certain.
After the election, a misleading finding from exit polls led many to blame African Americans for the loss. But in our new analysis, it appears that African Americans’ views were relatively stable. True, a majority of African Americans opposed same-sex marriage, but that was true at the beginning and at the end of the campaign; few changed their minds in the closing weeks.
The shift, it turns out, was greatest among parents with children under 18 living at home — many of them white Democrats.
The numbers are staggering. In the last six weeks, when both sides saturated the airwaves with television ads, more than 687,000 voters changed their minds and decided to oppose same-sex marriage. More than 500,000 of those, the data suggest, were parents with children under 18 living at home. Because the proposition passed by 600,000 votes, this shift alone more than handed victory to proponents.
So, those ads — the ones that were mocked by supporters of gay rights for being such an obvious attempt to use scare tactics and false information to pit people against gay marriage — they worked. If you don’t remember how ridiculous they were, watch this:
It seems that the advertising campaign was successful in brainwashing lots of parents. Had these parents done some research instead of blindly letting fear control them, the result of Proposition 8 may have been much different.
Also guess who paid for these ads? Mostly, it was the Mormon Church. These TV spots were just one part of their giant misinformation campaign, which you can learn much more about by watching 8: The Mormon Proposition! Seriously, watch it.
So now we’re stuck with a decision rooted in prejudices and hatred. And the decision may be harder to reverse than supporters of same-sex marriage believe. It turns out, the election results weren’t as close as it appeared.
Voter confusion skewed the results, and while it affected both sides, many more of the confused voters were against same-sex marriage:
Polling suggests that half a million people who opposed same-sex marriage mistakenly voted against the proposition. They were confused by the idea that a “no” vote was actually a vote for gay marriage. This “wrong-way voting” affected both sides, but overwhelmingly it helped the “no” side. Our analysis suggests that the division among California voters on same-sex marriage at the time of Proposition 8 was actually 54% to 46% — not so close. We are actually 1 million votes away from being able to reverse Proposition 8.
Back to work, supporters of gay marriage! We’ve got a lot of work to do to change public opinion on same-sex marriage. And perhaps, this time, we should focus on the parents.