Suburban GOP Voters Defecting In Droves On Same-Sex Marriage

Since last month’s election I’ve been analyzing the voter shifts on Nov. 6 that carried gay-marriage advocates to victory in four states, after years of defeats. Yesterday the Washington Post “Outlook” section ran a piece in which I documented one of the most noteworthy shifts: Republican voters, especially in suburbs, crossed over in droves to break with their party’s official position. A few highlights:

  • Mitt Romney carried 18 counties in Maryland; in two of the three biggest, Anne Arundel and Frederick, the same-sex marriage referendum won outright. In 11 of the 18, Question 6 ran stronger than President Obama, a sign that more GOP voters were crossing over in support of it than Democrats were crossing the other way.
  • In greater Minneapolis-St. Paul, 47 towns and cities that voted for Romney also rejected Amendment One, the gay-marriage ban. Many suburban communities where Republicans tend to dominate or run competitively buried Amendment One with 60 percent of their vote.
  • In all three states studied – Maine as well as Maryland and Minnesota – the swings were most pronounced in executive/commuter suburbs with many well-educated and economically successful residents.

The article is here, and includes some thoughts on the debate in progress over how if at all the GOP should recast its approach to be more successful with voters. I also appeared on this Cato podcast last week to discuss the findings, and published more detailed breakdowns of the Maryland vote at the Huffington Post here and here.