Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Those Radical Gay Loving Republicans

The Volokh Conspiracy blog reports...

This morning's New York Times has the fascinating results of a poll of the views of Republican National Convention delegates on a variety of issues. The poll reveals that 49% of the GOP delegates support either gay marriage (6%) or civil unions (43%). Only 46% of the delegates believe there should be no legal recognition whatsoever of same-sex couples. (The main article, which does not discuss this particular result from the poll, is available here.)

Several things are noteworthy about this. First, support for civil unions, an idea that just ten years ago would have been thought radical by most people — and certainly by Republicans — is quickly becoming the default position across the political spectrum, not just on the left.

Second, party convention delegates are ideologically more extreme versions of party voters. But in this case, Republican delegates are actually more willing by a margin of 10% to support legal recognition of gay unions (49%) than are Republican voters overall (39% — 11% for gay marriage and 28% for civil unions). This may be partly due to the fact that the convention is dominated this year by McCain delegates, who are likely more moderate and libertarian on many social issues than delegates at past conventions. But it's not as if these delegates are social-issues squishes. Fully 81% of them believe abortion should not be permitted at all (43%) or should be more stricly regulated (38%). Even as they are softening their views on gay families they are maintaining their strongly conservative stands on other issues.

Third, unlike their views on some other issues (like abortion and approval of President Bush), Republican delegates are closer to the middle of the American electorate on same-sex relationships than were Democratic delegates, 90% of whom supported marriage (55%) or civil unions (35%). Among all voters, 58% now support either gay marriage (34%) or civil unions (24%), a difference of just 9% from what the GOP delegates believe.

It's still the case, of course, that Democratic voters and delegates are far more likely than Republican voters and delegates to support legal recognition of gay families. The latest draft of the official platform of the national GOP contains no position — either for or against — civil unions, which is noteworthy all by itself and may signal that party leaders understand the changed dynamic on this issue even among Republicans. The platform does reiterate the party's opposition to same-sex marriage and support for a federal marriage amendment (which McCain himself opposes). But I consider this poll of party activists quite surprising, and for a supporter of same-sex marriage, quite encouraging.

The times, they are-a-changin'...


Chris Paul said...

There might be a difference between what Delegates might say in a poll like this and what they'd say on their doorstep as an anonymous part of the broad population. I recall doiong quite a few vox poppy interviews at Brighton 2005 and Manchester 2006 and will admit to saying slightly different things in those than in private conversations and fringe meetings. Your point about this being McCain's lot may also have some truth in it. And how many were DK/WS? Just 5%? That seems low.

Mostly Ordinary said...

I still find the attitude to gays in the States rather bemusing. I laughed hearty when I saw that a mayonnaise ad accessed of trying to 'mainstream gay lifestyles' all rather odd.

Dick the Prick said...

Not exactly brilliant figures - the abortion stats are terrifying. I thought civil partnerships was a federal issue - is abortion too?

Anonymous said...

This fits well with the current analysis of the republican party as half fiscal conservative / half social conservative.

Social conservatives love radical Christianity, hate homosexuality, abortion etc.

Fiscal Conservatives hate big government and taxation but are very pro civil liberties.

Supposedly the social conservatives are just about containing the fiscal conservatives; but as the Libertarian Party gains ground this is beginning to change. The 48% recognising homosexual partnerships would seem to support this.

Ian Thorpe said...

What's going on here? I just left a comment at CIF on a post claiming American Rednecks are more progressive than they are given credit for:
Meet The Leftnecks now you tell me they are coming over all gay friendly?

I'm losing my faith in human nature.

Anonymous said...

Wonkette has a cracking selection of "casual encounters" messages from the Saint Paul section of Craigslist. It tells you a great deal about what the Republicans think about gay people in private...


canvas said...

how deluded are you, Iain Dale? hahaha. Away with the fairies!

Have you read the My Space page of Levi Johnston? Bristol Palin's 'boyfriend'.

"On his MySpace page, since removed from the Internet, Johnston describes himself as a "f****n' redneck" and reveals: "I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing," before warning that of anyone annoys him, he will “kick ass".
Poignantly, in the one part of the site where it asks about children, he wrote, "I don't want kids."

Republican 'family values'?
Sarah Palin policies> Don't teach sex education, teach abstinence.
doh. doh doh

Also, just heard that Sarah Palin doesn;t pass John McCain's Patriootism' test.

>>> "New revelations about the Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin — including her membership of a party that wants Alaskans to vote on becoming a separate country — are raising questions about how thoroughly John McCain's campaign vetted her background before adding her to the ticket.

Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence party (AIP) before becoming an elected Republican official, and recorded a video message for the AIP convention this year. The party's chief goal is securing Alaska a vote on seceding from the US, a goal that AIP leaders believe the state was denied before it became part of the US almost 50 years ago.

Yet it is the AIP's motto, "Alaska First, Alaska Always", that may cause the most trouble for McCain. The Republican's campaign slogan this year is "Country First"."

*** Iain, do you sense it is all falling apart? Maybe they should have vetted her a little more closely than they did?

Iain, You can support the redneck party if you want to - but never think for a second that they are gay friendly. It's madness to pretend otherwise.

Palin is a gun toting, moose killing, jesus loving baby machine...She got her passport only last year! Her husband was arrested for drink driving. and on and on and on.

And do you think she would be a good VP? the republicans are hypocrites.

IdoIdoMaybeIdont said...

a gay couple I know were married in Mass. in 2004. When they leave the states to go to Canada their marriage is officially recognized however when they return to the US it is not as borders are federally controlled. in their home state of NY their marriage is recognized for tax purposes but there is no gay marriage as such.

how crazy is that?

Anonymous said...

Which begs the question why don't they get their elected representatives to put their money where their mouth is? Until the GOP and supporters stop putting constitutional amendments on state ballots this is nothing but empty words.

David from Ealing said...

Only 46% believe there should be no legal recognition. Nuff said.

Gregg said...

And yet, the Californian Republican party, which you might suppose was likely to be the most progressive Republican outfit in the US, has put a marriage ban on this November's ballot. John McCain has publicly endorsed this, saying "I support the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, just as we did in my home state of Arizona". If passed, it will not only prevent future gay marriages, but may criminalise the thousands of gay couples who have already wed in California.

Hannibal said...

Gregg - the Californian Republican Party is famously nutty. They regard Arnie as a dangerous leftist. He was not their preferred candidate for the Gray Davis recall, he was merely the one they concluded could swing it.