Education, it turns out, is far more important at accounting for the differences between county votes in favor of same sex marriage bans. When holding religious adherence and Obama support constant, we would expect that the percentage of support for same-sex marriage bans to drop by 0.8-0.9 of a point for every extra 1% of a county's population that has at least a bachelor's degree.
Whether the effect of higher education implies "indoctrination" by liberal schools, or simply encourages openmindedness, I cannot say. The result does mean, along with the highly significant partisan variable, that people aren't just being led to a position by their preacher or their bible; on the contrary, the evidence suggests that people choose their own path when it comes to whether they support same-sex marriage.
We'll see what paths people decide to take in Maine and Minnesota later this year. Polling and demographics agree that Maine will probably be the first state to overturn a same-sex marriage ban, while they suggest that a ban on same-sex marriage is a slight favorite to pass in Minnesota.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Predicting the outcomes
This article in the Guardian finds that three variables account for votes for or against same sex marriage: Religion, Partisan identification, and Education. Race accounts for very little of the outcome.