With Hillary Clinton’s position on gay marriage back in the news following a combative interview with NPR host Terry Gross last week on the possible ‘political’ motivations for evolving on the issue in March 2013, statistician Nate Silver has taken the opportunity to crunch the numbers on whether Clinton’s late-blooming evolution was typical of women in her demographic profile.
Silver, using individual-level voter data from three states that voted on gay marriage initiatives in 2008 (California, Arizona, and Florida) found that somewhere between 75 and 90 percent of women in Clinton’s demographic profile supported gay marriage in 2008 (Democratic, non-evangelical Protestant, top category for household income and education, older aged females).
Silver says questions surrounding whether Clinton’s residence is urban or suburban and whether she is more of a “liberal” or a “moderate” account for the range – 75 percent of moderate, suburban women like Clinton supported gay marriage in 2008, with 90 percent of liberal, urban women like Clinton doing the same.
Furthermore, Silver finds:
The majority of women with this profile supported gay marriage long ago. I estimate, for instance, that about 75 percent of liberal, urban, Democratic women who otherwise match Clinton’s demographic characteristics did so even in 1992. And support among moderate, suburban Democratic women like Clinton rose above 50 percent shortly after her husband took office in 1993. Those figures might seem high. But there were some people who supported gay marriage in the early 1990s — about 25 percent of the U.S. population, based on the trend from national opinion polls. These were just the sort of people likely to be among that 25 percent.
More on Silver’s findings HERE.