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More Details on R-71 Vote

By Erica C. Barnett November 6, 2009


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As we reported yesterday, Referendum 71 (upholding gay domestic-partner rights) has won conclusively, with 52.44 of the vote as of yesterday afternoon. Today, the Washington Poll released detailed demographic information about voters for and against the measure. Some highlights:

• People who voted "approve" on R-71 were more likely to vote against Tim Eyman's Initiative 1033, which would have drastically capped the growth of property taxes. Only around 42 percent of those who voted "approve" on 71 also supported I-1033 (which was failing statewide, as of yesterday's vote count, 43 to 57 percent).

• Wealthier people were more likely to vote "approve" on R-71. Interestingly, middle-income people were least likely to favor the gay-rights measure, with lower-income people squarely in the middle.

• Perhaps less surprisingly, military personnel were less likely to support R-71: Only around 44 percent voted "approve."

• A "no" vote on R-71 correlated strongly with attendance at religious services, with only around a quarter of those who said they go to services "frequently" voting in favor, and just 44 percent of those who said they attend "regularly." Just over 32 percent of those who identify as "born-again Christians" voted in favor of the measure.

• Not surprisingly, attitudes toward gays and lesbians—opinions on gay marriage, whether it's OK for gays and lesbians to kiss in public, whether homosexuality is a "choice," and whether voters had gay family members or friends—correlated strongly with whether or not they supported the gay-rights measure.

Prior to the election, the Washington Poll predicted R-71 would pass by 81,529 votes. Currently, the vote tally is on track to meet that prediction: As of yesterday, R-71 was leading by 61,637 votes, an increase on the previous two days' counts.
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