Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Comparisons of Marriage Equality Fundraising By State

The fundraising totals for the marriage equality campaigns in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington have been released in the last few weeks. Respectively, the campaigns have raised $3.2 million (MD), $3.4 million (ME), $8.2 million (MN) and $9.4 million (WA). Knowing the specific total amounts of money raised to fight the anti-gay ballot measures in each state is important, especially in states like Minnesota and Washington where these amounts are at least 4 times as much as the heterosexual supremacists have raised.

However, probably a more useful way to analyze the data is to look at the per capita amount of money raised by the campaigns, which is displayed by the following graphic:

In this case, Maine leads with $2.56 per person (population of Maine is only 1,328,188), followed by Minnesota with $1.53 per person (population of Minnesota is 5,344,861), with Washington close behind with $1.38 per person (population of Washington is 6,830,038) and Maryland lagging with a mere $0.56 per person (population of Maryland is 5,828,289). All figures are taken from the 2010 Census. So it is not surprising that Washington has raised the most money, since they are the most populous state facing a marriage ballot measure right now, but Maine is doing significantly well considering the relatively small population of that mostly rural state. The more accurate number to use in the per capita calculation might be the voting population total, but generally one would not expect a huge voter registration variation between these four Blue states that would drastically change the overall results.

Using the per capita numbers would seem to suggest Maine has the best chance of winning, with Maryland the least likely. This seems pretty consonant with what insiders (and my gut) is telling me. Basically, any result is possible at this point, from a sweep of 4 wins, to a devastating debacle of 4 losses.

Of course money is not the sole determinant of who will win these campaigns, but it is significant that after losing marriage equality ballot measures in 32 states, the last few (North Carolina 2012, Maine 2009 and California 2008) the forces for LGBT equality have consistently out-raised the heterosexual supremacists, though usually not by much. It will be important to see whether a huge financial advantage that is present in places like Maine and Washington will lead to victories there.

We'll know the answer in roughly three weeks!

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