Votes in favor of gay marriage, for example, were concentrated in Montgomery and Howard counties as well as in and around Baltimore. The measure won in precincts that are predominantly white or so diverse that no racial or ethnic group predominates. Support was highest in neighborhoods where the median household income tops $180,000.
Conversely, the gay marriage question failed, although by small margins, in precincts that are predominantly black or Hispanic and in the exurbs and rural stretches of the state. It lost in most parts of socially conservative, affluent Prince George’s County and in neighborhoods where the median household income dips below $50,000.
The Dream Act measure, granting in-state tuition to the children of immigrants who did not come to this country with proper documents, passed handily in almost all neighborhoods except those that are largely non-Hispanic white. It won in white precincts in the suburbs around Washington, however.
And the measure that expanded gambling was supported broadly across the state, faltering only in some of the state’s more rural reaches.
Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington County), who led online petition drives to bring several measures before voters, said the analysis shows how the ballot questions transcended traditional political boundaries.
“Prince George’s County was strongly for Obama, yet it came out against changing the definition of marriage,” he said. “Anne Arundel County was pro-Romney, and it went for changing the definition of marriage. What we see are people voting values that don’t necessarily match up with what their party affiliation is.”
Exit polling done in Maryland on Election Day showed that same-sex marriage was overwhelmingly supported by voters younger than 40 and rejected by every other older group of voters. It won among white men and women and among black women, but it was rejected by black men. Voters who are college graduates, liberal, unmarried, high-income and do not regularly attend religious services were far more likely to support gay marriage than voters who are conservative, have incomes below $100,000 or are weekly church-goers.
Both opponents and proponents of legalizing same-sex marriage pointed to advertising as key to the outcome.
“We made significant inroads in the African American vote,” said Kevin Nix, a spokesman for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, which promoted same-sex marriage. “Though it did come up a little short, I think there was significant progress made in Prince George’s and the Baltimore area.”