Speaker Karen Bass has weighed in on the Proposition 8 controversy regarding the CNN exit poll showing that 70 percent of African-Americans voted "yes." (See the article in The Bee: Assembly Speaker Bass assails anger directed at blacks after Prop. 8 vote) David Mixner, a gay political strategist who writes from upstate New York, has an interesting perspective questioning the exit poll and the potential to build a coalition:
Dr. Fernando Guerra of Loyola's Levy Center for the Study of Los Angeles did a far more extensive poll than CNN and found that the 70 percent figure was way too high. The figure is closer to 57 percent (still not acceptable) but a long way from the 70 percent. Other models that I have been running in an attempt to get the facts and not the emotions show the latter a more likely figure.
The other data that appears to be emerging (BUT yet to be totally verified) is that African-Americans who early voted (which was a huge number) voted YES while those on election day voted NO. Remember we did not do extensive campaigning in many of the African-American precincts until the final week or so which was long after tens of thousands had already voted. Our campaign was slow to use Obama's opposition to Proposition 8 which he gave the day after the initiative qualified five months before the election.
Now historically, the African-American community has been our strongest ally. I have been working in LGBT rights since 1976 and no other community has consistently supported us like the African-American community. In two huge past initiative battles that we won statewide in California, No on 6 and No on 64, the African-American community gave us some of our largest margins. Leaders like Mayor Willie Brown, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, deceased Congressman Julian Dixon and others too numerous to mention often were the first to speak up if our oppressors were coming after us. We have a long valuable historical and powerful coalition with the African-American community and I would hate to see us do damage to it in our passion.
Hat tip to Calitics.com.