Until this morning, the best thing to come out of Logo TV was “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” But the cable channel catering to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community teamed up Harris Interactive, the venerable polling outfit, to conduct a survey of LGBT voters and the general population to get their views on a host of issues. The key takeaway is something us gays have been trying to tell everyone all along: We’re just like everyone else.
According to the poll, the top three issues of concern to the 1,367 U.S. voters surveyed online by Harris Interactive were the same top three issues for the 1,190 self-identified LGBT voters surveyed. They were “economic issues” (24 percent to 18 percent), “unemployment/jobs” (15 percent to 14 percent) and “health care” (12 percent for both). But there was another eye-opening result in this poll that is good news for the GOP. Yet, it’s news the GOP will ignore.
The NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday put support for President Obama and Vice President Biden at 48 percent and that for the presumptive Republican nominees Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan at 44 percent. The Logo TV-Harris Interactive survey just about mirrors that result. Obama-Biden were backed by 48 percent of the general population of registered voters surveyed. Romney-Ryan got 42 percent.
As you might imagine, among the gays, Obama-Biden (67 percent) trounced Romney-Ryan (23 percent). But that lock on the gay vote for the president and the Democratic Party isn’t as firm as you might think.
“If Mitt Romney held the same positions on issues related to gay rights as President Obama,” respondents were asked, “what would be the impact on your attitude towards voting for Mitt Romney?” Twenty-two (22) percent of LGBT voters said they would be “more likely to vote for Romney.”
“If the Republican Party and the Democratic Party held the same position on gay rights,” respondents were asked, “how would that impact your attitude towards voting for Republican candidates?” Twenty-six (26) percent of LGBT voters indicated they would be “more likely to vote Republican.”
Basically, Obama-Biden would be fighting Romney-Ryan for the gay vote if the Republican ticket and its party were on the same progressive page as the president and the Democrats. In fact, given how tight the presidential race is, who’s to say that Romney wouldn’t be ahead of Obama if the GOP and its standard bearer had the same positions on LGBT issues as the president and Democrats?
That’s not to say there aren’t Republicans — gay and straight — trying to pull the GOP into the 21st century. And that’s also not to say that Romney-Ryan won’t get gay votes. Sen. John McCain got 27 percent of the gay vote in 2008. This was up from the 23 percent President George W. Bush received when he ran for reelection in 2004.
As long as the Republican Party closes itself off from potential voters who might like its melody but hate its lyrics, it will continue its metamorphosis into a regional, reactionary bloc whose doctrinaire positions are incompatible with a diverse democracy.