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Record LGBT support for Democrats in midterms, NBC News Exit Poll shows

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By Tim Fitzsimons

Democratic candidates enjoyed strong support from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters nationwide on Tuesday, according to the NBC News Exit Poll. LGBT people made up 6 percent of the electorate in the midterms, and 82 percent of them cast their ballot for their district’s Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives, versus 17 percent for their district’s Republican House candidate. The exit poll also found LGBT voters supporting Democratic Senate and gubernatorial candidates in strong numbers.

LGBT Exit Poll graphic
NBC News

From a demographic perspective, LGBT voters were second only to black voters when it came to supporting Democrats in the midterms. Ninety percent of black voters supported their House district’s Democrat, while just 9 percent supported the Republican in the race. LGBT voters preferred Democratic candidates at higher rates than several other demographic groups that are traditionally thought of as Democratic-leaning, including Latino, young and college-educated voters.

HOUSE CANDIDATE SUPPORT IN 2018

  • Black voters: 90% Democrat, 9% Republican
  • LGBT voters: 82% Democrat, 17% Republican
  • Hispanic voters: 69% Democrat, 29% Republican
  • 18-29 year olds: 67% Democrat, 32% Republican
  • College graduates: 59% Democrat, 39% Republican

The percentage of LGBT voters who identify as Democrats has gone up over the last few election cycles, according to the NBC News Exit Poll. From 2014 to 2018, LGBT voters identifying as Democrats increased 13 points, while the percentage identifying as Republican dropped by 7 points. The percentage of LGBT voters identifying as independent remained relatively consistent from 2014 to 2016, then dropped by 8 points between 2016 to 2018 (Note: Prior to 2016, the NBC News Exit Poll did not ask voters about their gender identity, only their sexual orientation).

PARTY IDENTIFICATION OF LGBT VOTERS

  • 2018: 63% Democrat, 10% Republican, 27% Independent
  • 2016: 52% Democrat, 13% Republican, 35% Independent
  • 2014: 50% Democrat, 17% Republican, 33% Independent

When it comes to having a favorable opinion of the parties, the NBC News Exit Poll found 61 percent of LGBT voters only had a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party, 12 percent only had a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, 14 percent viewed neither party favorable and only 6 percent viewed both parties favorably.

Interestingly, the growing support for Democrats and shrinking support for independents does not mean that the self-reported ideology of the LGBT electorate has changed since the last midterm election in 2014. In fact, the NBC News Exit Poll found a nearly identical ideological breakdown amongst LGBT voters even though they increasingly chose Democratic candidates in 2018.

POLITICAL IDEOLOGY OF LGBT VOTERS

  • 2018: 53% liberal, 33% moderate, 14% conservative
  • 2014: 52% liberal, 34% moderate, 14% conservative

Gary Gates, a former research director at UCLA’s Williams Institute, which researches LGBTQ demographic trends, said “the LGBT community has consistently shown strong support for the Democratic Party” and characterized the 82 percent support in 2018 as a “high-water mark.”

“This isn’t surprising,” Gates said. “The hostility of the Trump administration to LGBT issues, including the attempted ban on transgender military service and efforts to reduce or eliminate measurement of sexual orientation and gender identity on federal surveys, may mean that LGBT voters feel particularly threatened right now by the President and his party.”

The NBC News Exit Poll found 53 percent of LGBT voters said one reason for their midterm vote was to express opposition to President Trump, 10 percent said it was to express support for him and 31 percent said Trump was not a factor in their midterm vote. Nearly 80 percent of them said the country is going in the wrong direction, and less than 20 percent said it’s on the right track.

ADDITIONAL DATA ON LGBT VOTERS

Age

  • 2018: 39% 18-29, 23% 30-44, 23% 45-64, 15% 65+
  • 2016: 33% 18-29, 30% 30-44, 26% 45-64, 11% 65+
  • 2014: 27% 18-29, 23% 30-44, 34% 45-64, 16% 65+
  • 2012: 37% 18-39, 28% 30-44, 27% 45-64, 8% 65+

Race

  • 2018: 61% White, 16% Black, 13% Hispanic, 10% Other
  • 2016: 66% white, 12% Black, 16% Hispanic, 6% Other
  • 2014: 74% white, 9% black, 14% Hispanic, 4% other
  • 2012: 56% white, 18% black, 16% Hispanic, 10% other

Gender

  • 2018: 39% men; 61% women
  • 2016: 47% men, 53% women
  • 2014: 51% men, 49% women
  • 2012: 49% men, 51% women

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Italy MEP offers Brexit OLIVE BRANCH and admits Rome TERRIFIED by no-deal

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ITALY eurocrat Paolo De Castro has given Theresa May a glimmer of hope her Withdrawal Agreement can be “improved”, as Italian business leaders admitted fears billions of pounds worth of trade between Rome and London could be at risk by a no-deal Brexit.

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Shutdown could further endanger whales

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By Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine — Rescuers who respond to distressed whales and other marine animals say the federal government shutdown is making it more difficult to do their work.

A network of rescue groups in the U.S. works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to respond to marine mammals such as whales and seals when the animals are in trouble, such as when they are stranded on land or entangled in fishing gear. But the federal shutdown, which entered its 33rd day Wednesday, includes a shuttering of the NOAA operations the rescuers rely upon.

NOAA plays a role in preventing accidental whale deaths by doing things like tracking the animals, operating a hotline for mariners who find distressed whales and providing permits that allow the rescue groups to respond to emergencies. Those functions are disrupted or ground to a halt by the shutdown, and that’s bad news if whales need help, said Tony LaCasse, a spokesman for the New England Aquarium in Boston, which has a rescue operation.

“If it was very prolonged, then it would become problematic to respond to animals that are in the water,” LaCasse said. “And to be able to have a better handle on what is really going on.”

The shutdown is coming at a particularly dangerous time for the endangered North Atlantic right whale, which numbers about 411, said Regina Asmutis-Silvia, a senior biologist with Whale and Dolphin Conservation of Plymouth, Massachusetts. The whales are under tight scrutiny right now because of recent years of high mortality and poor reproduction.

NOAA recently identified an aggregation of 100 of the whales south of Nantucket — nearly a quarter of the world’s population — but the survey work is now interrupted by the shutdown, Asmutis-Silvia said. Surveys of rare whales are important for biologists who study the animals and so rescuers can have an idea of where they are located, she said. No right whale mortalities have been recorded so far in 2019, but there have been at least 20 since April 2017.

“There’s a really significant impact on marine mammal conservation based on this shutdown,” Asmutis-Silvia said. “We have little to no ability to find them because of NOAA’s being furloughed.”

Many in the conservation community are anticipating potential changes to the federal government’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, which is a tool to reduce incidental deaths of whales. But that process, too, is on hold because of the shutdown.

Calls from The Associated Press to NOAA spokespeople were not returned. Some spokespeople for the agency have voicemail set up to say they will return to work when the shutdown is over.

Outside of the federal government, work to protect whales is still going on. The developer of an offshore wind energy project off Massachusetts announced Wednesday it is partnering with environmental groups on a plan to try to protect the right whales.

And not all the news about the whales is gloomy. A Florida research team has located the third right whale calf of the season. None were spotted last season.

Scott Landry, director of marine mammal entanglement response for the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Massachusetts, said that a NOAA whale entanglement hotline is currently being forwarded to him, and that he’s managing to pick up the slack so far. Rescue groups anticipated the shutdown and are working together to make do until it’s over, he said.

In Virginia, one of the state’s first responders for whale rescues is the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach. Mark Swingle, the aquarium’s director of research and conservation, said the center would not have “the usual assets we depend on to support the response” if it needs to assist an endangered whale.

That’s because NOAA staff and the Coast Guard would not be available, Swingle said.

“These circumstances require extremely specialized training and resources and NOAA is the lead organizer of large whale and other disentanglement efforts,” he said. “Live strandings pose their own set of challenges that NOAA helps navigate appropriately.”

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Brexit Article 50 news: Will Article 50 be extended?

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BREXIT Article 50 being triggered was the first action the UK took towards withdrawing from the European Union in 2017. Could article 50 be extended?

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