A few media outlets are saying that Barack Obama needed the LGBT vote to win. We can know exactly if we knew the LGBT demographic information for each of the battleground states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin). Instead, we can look at the newest Gallup estimate. The math here is simple.
- The president won the popular vote with 50.95%.
- About 237,744,633 Americans were eligible to vote.
- Newest estimates on LGBT Americans is about 3.4% of the population (Gallup).
- A CMI poll taken during the election (November 2-4) indicated that 90% of all LGBT people voted for Mr. Obama, 6% voted Mr. Romney, and 95% of all LGBT people intend to vote.
How did the candidates do?
- Obama final vote = 65,464,068 or 50.95%
- Romney final vote = 60,781,275 or 47.31%
- The other candidates (Mr. Johnson, Ms. Stein, Mr. Goode, Ms. Barr, Mr. Anderson, and Mr. Hoefling) won 1.74% of the vote.
- 126,245,343 out of 237,744,633 = 51.4% of all eligible adults voted for either Obama or Romney.
Now, we need to see how many LGBT people voted for each candidate.
- 3.4% of the adult population is LGBT. LGBT adults in the US = 8,083,318
- 95% of LGBT people intend to vote. LGBT people who voted = (0.95 * 8,083,318) = 7,679,152
- LGBT people who voted for Obama at 90% = (0.90 * 7,679,152) = 6,911,237
- LGBT people who voted for Romney at 6% = (0.60 * 7,679,152) = 460,749
Knowing how many LGBT people voted for each candidate, we can use those numbers to set up a hypothetical situation in which each neither candidate receives the clear majority of the LGBT vote by dividing this equally.
- Obama vote share – LGBT for Obama = 65,464,068 – 6,911,237 = 58,552,831
- Romney vote share – LGBT for Romney = 60,781,275 – 460,749 = 60,320,526
- LGBT people who vote at 50% (negligible difference) = (7,679,152 / 2) = 3,839,576
- New Obama + 50% LBGT vote share = (58,552,831 + 3,839,576) = 62,392,407
- New Romney + 50% LBGT vote share = (60,320,526 + 3,839,576) = 64,160,102
We see that if the LGBT vote was evenly split (of the 95% who originally said they were voting for these candidates), Mr. Romney would have won the popular vote. How much of the LGBT vote would Mr. Obama have needed to win the popular vote?
- A simple majority is 50% plus 1 = 126,245,343 / 2 +1 = 63,122,672
- (Simple majority – Obama without the LGBT vote) / number of LGBT people intending to vote for either candidate = (63,122,672 – 58,552,831) / 7,679,152 = 0.595
Therefore, President Obama could not have won the popular vote without the LGBT vote. Mr. Obama needed about 59.5% of the LGBT vote to win the popular vote. Mr. Romney would have needed 36.5% of the LGBT vote to win the popular vote. If the Republican Party and the Mitt Romney campaign had taken a different stance on LGBT equality, this election could have had different results.