It’s a common assumption that gay voters all vote for Democrats.
In 2012, Barack Obama, according to exit polls, received three-fourths of the gay vote. But gay voters aren’t merely Democrats. In a Gallup study, a higher percentage of gays (44 percent) were Democrats than were heterosexual voters (32 percent), and a lower percentage were Republicans (13 percent versus 30 percent). Gallup thinks 65 percent of gays usually vote Democratic, slightly less than voted for Obama in 2012.
Most Republican candidates seem to look at gays as a group it’s safest to just not address, given these figures. While there may be something salutary about not viewing gays as a tribe, but instead as individuals, a number of Republicans seem to be willing to do outreach to groups whose non-Democratic vote is much lower than the gay’s 35 percent.
Senator Rand Paul has spoken at a number of historically black colleges, and Dr. Ben Carson ran rap music campaign ads on urban radio. African Americans vote almost 90 percent for Democrats, not the 65 percent that gays do.
Democrats spend a huge amount of money to get that 65-75 percent of the gay vote.
Just to take the largest gay political groups that work heavily on elections instead of legal cases, the Human Rights Campaign Fund (which laughably claims to be bi-partisan – not non-partisan or multi-partisan – because it usually has one or two RINO employees or board members) has a budget of $40 million, and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund (and its affiliated Institute), also allegedly bi-partisan (it has donated a minimal amount of money to gay Republican candidates), has an annual budget of around $3 million.
Additionally the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, essentially a socialist group that does not purport to be bi-partisan, has an annual budget of just under $8 million. Additionally there are many other political entities that focus on herding the gay vote, like Equality Matters, that are part of some larger group (Equality Matters is a project of the George Soros funded Media Matters, the latter of which has a $14 milllion annual budget). There are also much smaller groups, like the National Center for Transgender Equality (with a budget of $1 million), that aren’t known primarily for campaigning for candidates and parties, but that don’t seem likely to be supportive of non-Democrats.
Additionally, the Democratic National Committee actually has a Gay and Lesbian Interest Section as a formal group within the Democratic Party. Democrat-oriented gay groups easily spend over $50 million annually, not mainly on direct contributions to Democratic candidates, but on lobbying, media guidance, AND donations both monetary and in kind, to convince gay voters to support Democrats, or to be afraid of Republicans.
As with heterosexual voters and the mainstream media, this doesn’t even include the value of earned media, which is even more biased towards Democrats when it comes to gay media than is the mainstream media is for voters in general. (Aside from a few websites, there are no gay media that are not predominately Democratic.)
In the most recent presidential election, just under 130 million Americans voted. Though estimates of the percentage of gays in the population are usually around 2 percent, they are thought to be closer to 5 percent of voters. Even at that higher number there were basically 6 and a half million gay voters in 2012, for whom the gay Democratic groups spent over $50 million, or around $9 per voter – in addition to the general election spending of other partisan groups, Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, etc. – spent on every voter regardless of orientation.
And what was spent by the other parties?
Though it has local chapters as well, the national office of Log Cabin Republicans has an annual budget of $220,000, basically enough for an Executive Director and an office space, and perhaps one staffer or intern; though when you include its sister, non-electoral arm, the Liberty Education Forum (they share the same executive director) the total is closer to $500,000.
The more conservative gay group GOProud, now defunct, spent around $500,000 at its high point in 2012. A related group with a much larger budget is the American Unity PAC, a Republican PAC that supports Republican candidates who support gay marriage, which raised just under $3 million in 2012 and about $6 million in 2014, with seed money from Paul Singer and other libertarian Republican hedge fund manager and investment banker types.
Though the effect of American Unity PAC may have been to shift the Republicans elected to a slightly more gay friendly profile, it’s really more a case of gay marriage supporting heterosexual Republicans raising money to support gay marriage supporting heterosexual Republican candidates.
American Unity PAC will likely not be involved in the 2016 election.
So if one just compares the budgets of Log Cabin Republicans to that of the massive, multi-million dollar Democratic gay groups, Democrats outspend Republicans by a factor of 100 to 1 on targeted outreach to gay voters. (Even if you add in American Unity PAC, Democrats outspend Republicans by 10 to 1 on targeted outreach.)
But Democrats only get 2 to 3 times as much of the gay vote as Republicans (and others, like Libertarians and Greens, who may be getting a disproportionately high share of gay votes as well, especially from the 43 percent of the gays who call themselves independents). While spending 100 times as much.
Perhaps gay voters aren’t innately such liberal Democrats after all.