Gays Voted as a Block in Philadelphia Mayoral Election

Innovative Study Has National Implications

Jul 31, 2007, 01:00 ET from Equality Forum

    PHILADELPHIA, July 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A study by Equality
 Forum, an international gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) civil
 rights organization, suggests that gay and lesbian voters voted as a block
 in the recent mayoral primary election in Philadelphia and that gay and
 lesbian voters were markedly more likely to support their candidate than
 their neighbors. The study found that gays voted by about two to every one
 vote for Michael Nutter, the winning candidate, in the citywide vote.
     "The study is important both in its methodology and the result," said
 Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum. "It demonstrates that
 even in a field of gay-friendly candidates, a candidate who can provide the
 right cues can be the beneficiary of a GLBT block vote. Block voting
 increases a group's political importance and power."
     The May 15, 2007 Democratic primary, which is tantamount to election in
 heavily-Democratic Philadelphia, featured five well-known politicians: two
 longtime Members of Congress, a former City Councilman, a State
 Representative who chairs the Appropriations Committee in the Pennsylvania
 House of Representatives, and a wealthy former Deputy Mayor. The former
 City Councilman, Michael Nutter, spent most of the race lagging in fourth
 place before he surged to victory, garnering 36.6% of the citywide vote.
     The Equality Forum study reviewed the votes cast in seven distinct
 Philadelphia gay neighborhoods and found that Nutter garnered 74% of the
 vote in these neighborhoods. A review of the top 12 Philadelphia tracts
 identified in the U.S. Census as having the most same-sex couples residing
 in the same household found that Nutter received 69% of the vote in these
 census tracts.
     The study compared the percentage of votes from the gay neighborhoods
 and census tracts to the percentage of votes each candidate received in the
 respective wards. The gay voting divisions averaged a 17% higher percentage
 vote for Nutter than the respective overall ward percentage.
     "Nutter was viewed as a progressive outsider by a community that is
 perceived as outside the mainstream," said Lazin. "Nutter actively
 campaigned for the gay vote and sent cues that he embraced diversity and
 wanted to shake up the establishment for Philadelphia's benefit."
     "We believe that our methodology can be used to measure GLBT voters in
 municipal, state and federal elections," said Lazin. "Our hope is that this
 study will encourage exit polls of GLBT voters in the 2008 federal primary
 and general elections. By focusing on areas across the nation with
 identifiable gay neighborhoods, an exit poll can generate a more
 comprehensive picture about GLBT voters and why they voted for a
     Equality Forum ( is a national and
 international GLBT civil rights organization with an educational focus.
 Equality Forum undertakes high impact initiatives, produces documentary
 films, coordinates GLBT History Month and presents annually the largest
 national and international GLBT civil rights forum.
 Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click
 appropriate link.
 Malcolm Lazin

SOURCE Equality Forum