"The Bradley Effect" has become well-known this year — it refers to the gap between African American candidates' polling numbers and their (lack of) success on Election Day. Is there also a Bradley Effect for LGBTQ issues?
That's what supporters of California's Proposition 8, a gay marriage ban, said when polling showed their initiative trailing by 17 points. But after a far-reaching television and radio ad campaign funded by national Christian conservative groups, the newest numbers, by SurveyUSA, show Proposition 8 with a slight lead, though one within the margin of error. The commercials featured a clip of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom saying marriage equality was here to stay "whether you like it or not." It was a smart campaign; nobody likes to be told their opinion doesn't matter. And, depressingly, the shift in support toward Proposition 8 was in large part due to younger voters deciding they supported the ban. Americans under 30 are supposed to be on the vanguard of increasing tolerance for gay people.
And there's more bad news. There are gay marriage bans on the ballot in Arizona and Florida, too. In both states, supporters of the bans have vastly out-spent the opposition, and the initiatives are likely to pass. Arizona is an especially interesting case; in 2006 it became the first state in the nation to reject an anti-marriage equality ballot initiative. But this year's initiative avoids penalizing unmarried hetrosexual couples, and thus has garnered more support.
cross-posted at TAPPED