Joe Biden would have lost the election if not for LGBTQ voters according to new analysis

Rainbow flag in front of the White House
A demonstrator holds a rainbow flag up to the fence surrounding the White House in Washington, DC during the National Equality March for LGBT rights in October 2009. Photo: Tony Webster, Via Wikimedia Commons, CC 4.0

Another analysis of the 2020 election has found that Donald Trump would have won if not for LGBTQ voters.

Using data from the AP VoteCast poll, three political science researchers writing in the Washington Post found that Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada would have gone for Trump if LGBTQ voters had decided to stay home on election day this year.

Related: Here are 85 ways Joe Biden can help LGBTQ people without going through Congress

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The AP’s poll found that, nationwide, 25% of LGBTQ people voted for Trump and 73% for Joe Biden, a better share for Biden than the New York Times‘s early exit polls but lower than GLAAD’s poll after the election.

But the AP’s poll released results by state for straight, cisgender voters. The researchers found that cishet people – but not the general population – in the five states above voted for Trump and therefore those states would have gone for him and tipped the Electoral College in his favor if LGBTQ people hadn’t voted.

The AP’s poll was also able to provide state-level results for cishet voters, which allowed the researchers to impute the percentage of LGBTQ people who voted for Biden in those states. According to their math, 89% of LGBTQ voters in Arizona and 88% of LGBTQ voters in Georgia voted for Biden, much higher than the national average and enough to tip the scales to Biden in those states. The share of Democratic votes among the LGBTQ populations in Wisconsin, Nevada, and Pennsylvania were closer to the national average – 70%, 73%, and 78%, respectively.

The poll also found a higher percentage of voters identified as LGBTQ in 2020 than in 2016. CNN’s 2016 exit polls found that 5% of voters identify as LGBTQ. The New York Times‘s early exit polls in 2020 showed that that was significantly higher – 7% – and the LGBTQ share of the voter was also higher, between 7% and 8%, going as high as 9% in some states.

The researchers believe that this is in part due to more young people identifying as LGBTQ, as well as an unusually depressed LGBTQ Republican population in 2016.

An LGBTQ Nation analysis using GLAAD poll data last month also came to the conclusion that if LGBTQ voters had stayed home then Trump would have won the election. That analysis found that taking away LGBTQ voters would turn Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia red; the Washington Post‘s analysis adds Nevada to that list. Part of the reason is that finding a higher LGBTQ share of the population increases the importance of that population in determining the result, and the LGBTQ Nation analysis used the 5% number from CNN’s 2016 exit polls.

The authors note the importance of Georgia in the election. Georgia will have runoff elections in January for both of its U.S. Senate seats. If Democrats manage to win both runoff elections, then they could get control of the Senate.

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