Values Voters, Again?

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Earlier today, I reported that gay marriage was not likely to succeed as a conservative vote-getter this election cycle. The issue is not whether conservatives support gay marriage, but rather whether anti-gay measures bring conservatives to the polls who might otherwise have stayed home. CNN’s early exit poll results indicate that six in ten voters say values issues like abortion and gay marriage influenced their choices.

But the question is too broad to suggest that gay marriage got conservatives into the polling booth–it does not specify, for instance, whether the voters support or oppose “values” legislation. CNN’s results—which are currently only available for two states, Virginia and Tennessee, where anti-gay marriage amendments are on the ballot—also show that the single strongest predictor of a vote against gay marriage is strong approval of how George W. Bush is handling his job. Read: extreme Republican partisanship of the sort that would lead someone to vote with or without the proposed constitutional amendment.

Both amendments are likely to pass. But amendments in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin face uncertain outcomes and promise to tell us more about the status of gay marriage in 2006.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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