Three surprisingly positive things you probably missed about US LGBT+ voters this week


Joe Biden’s surge on Super Tuesday and Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg dropping out of the Democratic race for presidency have marked this week.

But with so much going on and so much focus on those headlines, you may have missed an interesting shift in LGBT+ voters and candidates.

Here are three things this week has taught us about LGBT+ people and politics in the US. And they may surprise you.

LGBT+ people are getting out the vote

A massive one out of every 10 people voting in Super Tuesday’s presidential primaries identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

That is what NBC News found when in an exit poll of 12 of the 14 Super Tuesday states across the US.

And it may be even more positive to see that young LGBT+ people seem to be really engaged.

The NBC News poll broke down the age range of the LGBT+ voters and here’s what they found:

  • 17 to 29: 34%
  • 30 to 44: 31%
  • 45 to 64: 26%
  • 65 plus: 9%

To look at it another way, a third of LGBT+ people voting on Super Tuesday were under 30. And 65% of LGBT voters who took part are under 45.

Is that because people in their teens, 20s and 30s are more likely than those over 65 to identify as LGBT+? Or are young LGBT+ voters passionate about the future of their country? It’s pretty clear the answer is both.

In any case it should dispel some myths about young LGBT+ people being disengaged.

And it proves we can get out the LGBT+ vote and even punch above our weight in the 3 November election.

Progressive attitudes

The NBC News exit poll also showed LGBT Super Tuesday voters were strikingly liberal.

Exactly half of LGBT voters polled say they are ‘very liberal’. And another 30% say they are ‘somewhat liberal’. Just 4% of LGBT Democratic voters say they are conservative.

Again, the poll of 12 out of the 14 Super Tuesday states split down who LGBT+ people voted for.

The answer is 39% of our community’s votes went to Bernie Sanders. And another 21% went to Elizabeth Warren.

That means six out of 10 of all LGBT+ votes went to the two most progressive Democrats on the ballot.

And by comparison, only 29% of non-LGBT+ voters chose Sanders. And just 12% chose Warren.

Meanwhile the centrists did significantly less well from LGBT+ voters.

Former Vice President Joe Biden got 19% of LGBT+ votes. That’s compared to 35% of the non-LGBT+ vote.

And Michael Bloomberg, got just 8%. Again, compare that to 13% of the non-LGBT+ vote going to Bloomberg.

Meanwhile Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and the only openly gay candidate received 9% of the LGBT+ support. Likely that would have been much higher but he ended his campaign on Sunday, after early voting in several states.

With Warren, Bloomberg and Buttigieg all out of the race, it’s impossible to predict what LGBT+ voters may do over the coming months. But it seems Biden has a lot of ground to catch up on in this community if he’s to beat Sanders. 

LGBT+ winners

Finally, LGBT+ candidates appear to be winning in record numbers.

Indeed, Reuters reports that most of the openly LGBT+ candidates in Super Tuesday elections won their races.

And it was the largest ever field of gay and trans people running for office.

The Victory Fund says at least 28 LGBT+ candidates won primary races to become their political party’s nominee in the November election.

The Victory Fund is a nonpartisan group that supports lesbian, gay, bi and trans candidates.

And it says that of 38 Victory Fund candidates, 28 won their races with three other races too close to call.

It tracked contests including the mayoral race in San Diego, California. There openly gay candidate Todd Gloria finished first in the city’s primary.

Meanwhile in southwestern Texas, Gina Ortiz Jones won the Democratic Party nomination. If she wins in November, she will be the first openly LGBT+ member of the US Congress from Texas.  

Moreover, that kind of success rate is particularly exciting this year. That’s because more than 730 openly LGBT+ candidates are running for elective office nationwide. It’s the largest number ever.

There are a number of reasons. The Donald Trump years have seen multiple attacks on LGBT+ people in the US, inspiring many to act.

But the Victory Fund also credits Pete Buttigieg. While he has dropped out, his run as the first openly gay candidate for the US presidency has shown LGBT+ people what they can aspire to.

Moreover Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia told Reuters:

‘There’s a greater acceptance of the LGBT community among the public and a willingness to vote for LGBTQ candidates in many parts of the country.’

Perhaps 2020 won’t be so bad after all.


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