'We're Attacking Our Own Voters'

J$P Instant Transcript! Pat Caddell analyzes the effect of ballot initiatives on the Presidential race.

From Special Report with Brit Hume, November 10 2004:

BRIT HUME [FOX NEWS]: One person who has been analyzing the numbers is veteran Democratic strategist Pat Caddell, who is also a Fox News contributor, and he joins us tonight from Los Angeles. Pat welcome, what are your numbers telling you?

PAT CADDELL [DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST]: Well, first of all Brit, neither the Democrats are saying it was gay marriage and hate was responsible, nor are the conservatives are saying on the other side that it won on the Presidential thing. On the Presidential level these amendments tended to help break the late undecideds, which by the way historically break to the incumbent, broke to Bush, and they tended to be older voters, and there’s increased older voters. But Bush didn’t really get that much out of it. But the stunning thing is, it was across the board. If you look at Michigan and Ohio for instance, not only did Republicans, conservatives, and so forth in vast numbers vote for the amendments, and these are very restrictive amendments in those states. 61% of the blacks voted for it, 57% to 64% of union members voted for this, 45% of the Democrats, over 40% of Kerry’s own voters. In fact, if you took the counties that Kerry carried in Ohio, which is about half the vote, and just counted those votes on gay marriage, it would have passed 57-43. In fact in the South--

HUME: In fact, it did pass by much more than that, correct?

CADDELL: It passed by 62, but I mean--

HUME: So let me see if I have the implications of this right. Would it be fair to say that Kerry benefited very much from these voters turning out to vote for these amendments?

CADDELL: Well, people were turning out to vote for these amendments, first of all, so he got some of that benefit from that. Obviously, more Republicans, conservatives voted against it. But I can’t say right now that, except in the turn out, really it made that much difference in the Presidential race. Where I believe, and by the way if you go South you can really see the difference, Kentucky and Georgia. Kentucky used to be a swing state of course, and there you’ve got a huge majority. 64% of the Democrats in both states voted for this amendment. 68-72% of young people. And by the way, in Ohio and Michigan, the new voters in both cases, 50% in Michigan and 59% in Ohio, voted for the amendment, as did a majority, 51% of the voters under 30. This thing crossed all over the place, just as it had in Missouri. In all these places, you could take out the Republican counties and drop them and they’d still pass, with the possible exception of Oregon, which passed as well. And 4 million dollars was spent in that state, it was expected that would be the toughest state for the amendment to pass, and it passes with 57% of the vote. It’s amazing.

HUME: Now you said 4 million dollars was spent in Oregon. How much was spent against it?

CADDELL: Well here’s the fallacy we find is that people think Karl Rove went out and organized these things. Karl Rove had nothing to do with it actually. These were grass roots movements in reaction to what happened in Massachusetts and particularly in San Francisco. And what happened was that these were grass roots efforts by the churches, basically. These groups almost had no money. Republican organizations stayed away from them like the plague. And in Missouri they had $20,000 that was outspent by a million and a half dollars to 20,000. Oregon they didn’t have any money, but Oregon still passed. It’s with the voters, and I’ll tell you this. It’s about democracy to some extent, it’s not that people are going right and crazy, it’s not about intolerance. It’s about people don’t understand this and they want a say in it. It’s about democracy in part. People do not believe that this can be happening by judges and they have no say about it. In the black community this is as intense as it is with white evangelicals, and I’m really concerned about my own party, attacking. Every time they get up and attack “bigotry”, and say that this is discrimination, we’re attacking out own voters. And it’s really wrong to do this, and we need a national debate on the subject, which the media has not wanted to do all years. I mean, I’ve been talking about this for some months. We saw what happened in Missouri and Louisiana, set the precedents for this, and I’ll tell you those five Senate seats in the South, I predict in the Spring would probably go and I’m now pretty much convinced they went--

HUME: Pat, is there a difference between the effect that this issue being on the ballot had in the Presidential race, where you suggest that a very great many Democrats who were Kerry voters came out and voted for this, and presumably voted for John Kerry as well? Is it a different picture in the Senate races?

CADDELL: Its impact in the Senate races is much more direct. You can see it for instance, well, take the one place, one campaign that actually ran ads on it on the Democratic side, which was in Colorado, in which attacking Coors and their outreach program to gays. And you look at the results that Salazar got. He got, of people who said that moral views, moral concerns were their major issue, he got almost over a quarter of those votes. They’re very very conservative. But it saved Jim Bunning, there’s no doubt it saved Jim Bunning, and it’s no doubt the turnout--

HUME: Because of the turnout in Kentucky when he was in trouble?

CADDELL: Yes, and not only the turnout but also--

HUME: But how can you tell that, how can you tell that from the numbers that it saved Bunning?

CADDELL: Well so far, because of the correlation that we’re getting between the voting, for instance, for Bunning, and the groups, and his holding on where he held on. But the problem is it’s the uphill fight for Democrats in this, being posed or viewed as suspect on this. Look at South Carolina. You had a really competent candidate in Tannenbaum, a Democrat, statewide figure, she was running against a guy who I think had some problems as a candidate. He had come out for a 23% sales tax, he was for free trade in a state that had been devastated by textiles, and he went around talking about lesbians in the classrooms, got himself in a lot of trouble. But she still couldn’t get closer than 10% in the end--

HUME: Because?

CADDELL: This hurt them. Because these hurdles, these kind of turnouts, this kind of issue, the social issues, are really hurting.

HUME: Well let’s look ahead a couple years. The President has come out in favor of a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in effect. Many Democrats are opposed, it hasn’t passed Congress, it doesn’t look like it will any day soon. We’ve got about 15 or 20 seconds left. What’s your idea of the impact of that in the next couple of years?

CADDELL: Look, the people want this to go away. I mean, they just want it to go away. And if it doesn’t go away, we’ll have more ballot amendments, and what will happen to the President--

HUME: Quickly.

CADDELL: Look, the reason it wasn’t a big factor in the Presidential campaign is George Bush didn’t make it one.

HUME: But he could.

CADDELL: He could, and someone will.

HUME: All right, Pat Caddell, great to have you, thank you very much.

posted: Wed - November 10, 2004 at 07:12 PM       j$p  send