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
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 (http://www.equalityforum.com) 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.
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SOURCE Equality Forum