Did Donald Trump really double his support from LGBTQ voters this year? An exit poll relied upon by the New York Times says he did. But a new poll from GLAAD says otherwise and raises doubt about the accuracy of the widely quoted exit poll when it comes to LGBTQ voters.
The Edison poll of nearly 16,000 voters nationwide said that seven percent identified as LGBTQ. A head-scratching 28 percent of those voters said they supported Trump, double his numbers from 2016.
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That conflicted with a pre-election poll of LGBTQ voters conducted for GLAAD by Pathfinder Opinion Research. That poll found support for Trump at 17 percent – still amazing, but much more in line with his previous performance.
Now a new post-election poll for GLAAD finds that Trump’s actual support from LGBTQ voters was 14 percent – about the same as it was four years ago.
The discrepancy has a lot to do with the questionable reliability of exit polls, especially this year. Moreover, the Edison poll has its own issues. While the summary of Edison’s findings suggested that they were based on about 1,000 LGBTQ voters, the figures that Edison shared with GLAAD were far less: only 250 LGBTQ respondents.
That much smaller number makes for a much larger margin of error and makes drawing conclusions about the LGBTQ vote much less reliable. By contrast, GLAAD’s survey was based on 800 respondents, 93 percent of whom voted.
The GLAAD survey also covered a number of other issues. Unsurprisingly, more than half of voters cited the country’s COVID-19 response as one of the most important issues affecting their vote, and 30 percent said that the pandemic had hurt their career or work. Other top issues for voters were healthcare, cited by a quarter of voters, followed closely by racial justice and LGBTQ equality. Indeed, 77 percent of LGBTQ voters expressed concern that the new Supreme Court will overturn marriage equality.
The turnout tidal wave included LGBTQ voters. A quarter of those polled said that they were new voters.
“GLAAD’s poll confirms the impact of the LGBTQ vote as a deciding difference in the 2020 election, especially first-time LGBTQ voters who led a powerful surge of support for the pro-equality ticket,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.