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.