LGBTQ voters flocked to Bernie Sanders yesterday & rejected Mike Bloomberg

Montpelier/Vermont, Feb. 20, 2020: Bernie Sanders laughs during a rally
Bernie Sanders laughs during a rally.Photo: Shutterstock

More LGBTQ people voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) than any other candidate in yesterday’s Super Tuesday primary states.

Exit polls conducted by NBC News in 12 of the 14 primary states yesterday found that 42% of voters who identify as LGBTQ voted for the senator from Vermont.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) came in second place among LGBTQ voters with 22% support. Former Vice President Joe Biden got 19% of the LGBTQ vote.

New York City’s former Republican Mayor Mike Bloomberg struggled with LGBTQ people, getting only 6% of LGBTQ votes yesterday. That’s the same as former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who also got 6% of LGBTQ voters, even though he had dropped out of the primary before Super Tuesday (some states allow early voting for the primaries).

Compared to LGBTQ voters, cisgender/heterosexual (cishet) voters were more likely to support Biden and Bloomberg and less likely to support Sanders and Warren.

LGBTQ people, as a population, skew young, partly explaining why LGBTQ people would favor Sanders. He won almost 50% of the under-30 vote in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries even though he got around 26% of the vote overall in both of those states.

In the primary states yesterday, 65% of LGBTQ voters were under the age of 45. That’s far greater than the 36% of cishet voters who were less than 45-years-old.

One gay voter in California, Toby Brooks, 30, told NBC News that he liked Sanders’s record on LGBTQ issues.

“When it comes to LGBT issues, his record kind of makes questions of his queer policy nonexistent,” Brooks said. “I don’t really have to think about his support for queer people in any regard.”

According to the NBC News poll, LGBTQ voters were more likely than cishet voters to identify as “very liberal,” which also explains why they were most likely to vote for the two most progressive candidates yesterday.

The same poll found that 10% of Democratic primary voters yesterday were LGBTQ, about twice the estimated percentage of LGBTQ people in the population. That result isn’t surprising – LGBTQ people vote overwhelmingly Democratic in general elections, so it makes sense that they would be over-represented in the Democratic Party’s primary.

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