Hillary’s lead among gays slim; Obama looks to cut it

Posted on 13 Mar 2008 at 9:57pm
By Lisa Keen – Keen News Service

His camp releases another list of LGBT supporters, including locals


Tallies now available from 39 precincts in heavily gay neighborhoods around the country add more evidence to suggest that, among LGBT voters, Hillary Clinton is the favored candidate — by a margin of 52 to 48 percent — in the most tightly contested race in recent years for the Democratic presidential nomination.

But while the LGBT community has more support behind Clinton than the general population, it is only marginally less conflicted over who to support. A Gallup poll Monday, March 10, of 1,300 Democratic voters nationwide showed 45 percent for Clinton and 48 percent for Obama — a three percentage point difference, compared to the LGBT spread of four.

And, as Barack Obama racked up two more primary season victories during the past week, tension between the two camps has escalated.

Increasingly, well-known party figures bluntly predict the contest will go all the way to the convention floor in August.

Cities in the divide
Numbers from individual Manhattan precincts in Clinton’s home state of New York are still not available. So numbers from the Chicago wards in Obama’s home state of Illinois are discussed but left out of the analysis of the LGBT vote nationwide.

Counting almost 34,000 votes in 39 heavily gay precincts across eight cities, Clinton has won 52 percent of the vote, compared to Barack Obama’s 48 percent. The neighborhood precincts surveyed included those in Boston, Dallas, Key West, Los Angeles County, Northampton, Mass., Provincetown, San Francisco and South Beach.

Vote counts from those precincts in Houston considered to have large LGBT populations were not yet available.

Obama was the preferred candidate in the heavily gay neighborhoods of Boston, Northampton, San Francisco and Chicago; Clinton won in Dallas, Key West, Los Angeles County, Provincetown, South Beach and New York (the latter based on exit polling).

But LGBT support for Clinton surfaced even in cities where Obama won the overall vote.

In Chicago, 72 percent of voters in the city overall supported Obama, but in two heavily gay wards, only 68 percent did so.

In Dallas, voters overall went for Obama, with 61 percent of the city’s vote, compared to Clinton’s 38 percent. But in six heavily gay precincts, 56 percent of the vote went to Clinton, and 44 percent to Obama.


Gary Fitzsimmons

Despite Clinton’s strong showing among gay voters in Texas, several high profile LGBT community leaders in the state are backing Obama. In fact, the Obama campaign this week released another list of LGBT supporters that includes four prominent LGBT Texans, including Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons and Stonewall Democrats of Denton President John McClelland.

Former State Rep. Glen Maxey of Austin, Texas first openly gay state legislato,r is also on the list, as is transgender activist Christina Ocasio. and former Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby executive director Randall Ellis.

Another well-known transgender activist with Texas ties — former Human Rights Campaign board member Donna Rose — is also named as an Obama supporter. Rose’s mother lives in Arlington.

Gays in Los Angeles and San Francisco followed the trends of their respective citywide vote but with stronger conviction. While 55 percent of Los Angeles County overall voted for Clinton, 60 percent of voters in the heavily gay neighborhoods of West Hollywood and Silver Lake did so.

In San Francisco, 52 percent of voters overall supported Obama, compared to 54 percent of the voters in nine of the city’s heavily LGBT precincts in and around the Castro.

In Boston, 53 percent of all voters supported Obama, compared to 56 percent of voters in five of the city’s heavily gay precincts in South End, Fenway and Jamaica Plain.

As of now, delegates from Florida will not be seated at the national convention. Neither candidate campaigned in Florida.

The strongest support for Clinton came in the popular gay resorts of South Beach Miami, Key West, and Provincetown. Sixty-seven percent of voters in 12 of South Beach’s heavily gay precincts supported Clinton, even though Miami overall gave her only 52 percent of the vote. Similarly, three heavily gay precincts in Key West,

Fla., gave 61 percent of their vote to Clinton, compared to 53 percent of the city overall

And the small coastal resort town of Provincetown, Mass., supported Clinton with 54 percent of its vote, even though the LGBT neighborhoods in nearby Boston went for Obama.

All these numbers suggest a much tighter race for gay support than indicated by an exit poll conducted Feb. 5 in California and New York. In that exit poll, sponsored by a consortium of major media organizations, Clinton won 59 percent of the LGB vote in New York and 63 percent in California, compared to Obama’s 36 percent in New York and 29 percent in California.

Exit polls can be trusted to give a much more reliable snapshot of LGB voter support because they tally only those voters who identify themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual and because that voter directly indicates for whom he or she voted. Results from precincts in heavily gay neighborhoods are less reliable because they include heterosexual voters and because one cannot say with any certainty how LGB voters walking into those precincts cast their votes.


But in states where LGB voters are left out of exit polls, votes in heavily gay neighborhoods can provide at least a sense of how gays may have voted.

Meanwhile, Republican John McCain, who has already won enough delegates to secure his party’s nomination, won 79 percent of the vote Tuesday in Mississippi’s Republican primary. Obama won Wyoming and Mississippi, his 26th and 27th states, compared to Clinton’s 14.

According to the Casper Star-Tribune, Obama won 59 percent of Wyoming’s caucus votes Saturday, March 8, while Clinton won 40 percent. On Tuesday, he won the Mississippi primary, with 60 percent of the vote, according to the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson.

Counting is still not finished for the caucus part of last week’s Texas voting. While Clinton won the state’s primary, about one-third of the state’s delegates were to be awarded based on caucus voting. The state says it likely will be the end of March before the final results of that caucus have been finalized.

While Obama can boast the most states and most delegates won during the primary contests, Clinton can boast having won all but Illinois among the big states with large Electoral College clout — giving her a 219 to 202 edge over Obama in that regard. That factor may come into play for the party’s 300-plus as yet uncommitted supe delegates.

Various estimates of delegate counts put Obama at or near 1,600 — just 425 shy of the 2,025 needed to secure the Democratic nomination. Clinton has at or near 1,500 – just 525 shy.

There are 689 delegates assigned to the remaining 10 contests, but no one is speculating that either candidate has the chance to snare the delegates they need in those contests.
© Lisa Keen. All rights reserved.
E-mail LisaKeen@aol.com



This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 14, 2008

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