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    November 09, 2007

    ENDA by the numbers

    Posted by: Chris

    Pelosienda Parsing through the House vote to pass a compromise Employment Non-Discrimination Act on Wednesday confirms a lot of what we already knew about where support for gay equality is -- and is not:

    • Overall the vote was 235-184, which represents 56% of those voting and 54% of the House as a whole. The total fell well short of the 292 needed to override a threatened veto by President Bush.
    • Democrats favored ENDA 200-25 (8 not voting); Republicans opposed 35-159 (6 not voting)
    • Of those 25 Dems who crossed party lines to vote 'no,' (only) seven did so because the bill did not include "gender identity." Six of the seven were from New York or New Jersey. Even Dennis Kucinich, who voted against ENDA in committee, voted in favor when push came to shove. All seven, Dale Carpenter points out, come from states that already have state gay rights laws.
    • All but one of the 37 members of the Congressional Black Caucus who voted on ENDA backed the measure; Keith Boykin fingered the lone holdout: Alabama Democrat Artur Davis.
    • If those 35 Republicans, or those 37 black Democrats, had voted the other way, ENDA would have failed.
    • Geographically, support was strongest in the Northeast (65-17-1, or really 72-10-1 if you flip the "trans-or-bust'ers") and the West (63-33-2), though even the Midwest tipped in ENDA's favor (54-40-5). Only in the South did ENDA fail (53-94-6). The persistent hostility to civil rights in my native region was an emotional backdrop for me as I listened to the House debate. So many of the voices against ENDA had a distinctive Southern drawl.
    • The gender of the member was less a factor, though congresswomen favored ENDA by greater margins (51-16-3) than congressmen (184-168-11).
    • Age was also less of a factor than you'd imagine. The baby boomers run things in Washington and they split by about the same percentage (53% in favor) as did the House as a whole (56% in favor). Suprisingly, the 30 "post-boomers" in the House were less supportive (56% in favor) than the "pre-boomers" (63%).
    • I have no idea why, but the Washington Post actually breaks down congressional votes by astrological sign. For those curious, the three anti-gay signs were Gemini, Capricorn and Virgo. I'm proud to say that my own peeps, the Aries reps, were the most supportive, along with Taurus and Pisces.

    A lot of those data points mirror the encouraging results of a new ABC News-Washington Post poll that shows a clear majority of Americans (55%) supporting civil unions for the first time. The previous record was 51% in 2004, which put majority support within the margin of error; last year only 45% backed civil unions. Interestingly, the exact same percentage (55%) back legal abortion, although the report didn't clarify the degree of overlap.


    It's a bit apples and oranges to compare workplace rights with civil unions, except in a general sense to see where support for gay equality is strongest demographically.  Predictably, there was gaps by gender (women 59% in favor; men 51%); age (18-29 year olds favor 66%; those over 65 only 44%) and by party (Dems 66% in favor; Independents 58%; Republicans only 39%).

    Less predictably, self-described moderates were as supportive, with 64% in favor, as liberals 69%; only 35% of conservatives back civil unions. There was a discouraging racial gap as well: only 45% of blacks support civil unions while 56% of whites do. Black political leaders are clearly out ahead of black America on gay issues, and thankfully so.

    Finally, the ABC-WaPo poll found that about 60% of Democrats who favor civil unions are backing Hillary Clinton for president. There's unlikely a causal link there, however, since Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards all favor civil unions, although Obama has been more vocal in his support.



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    1. Tim on Nov 9, 2007 3:10:07 PM:

      us Gemini's are a fickle bunch!

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