While white LGBT activists are pointing fingers at African-American voters for the passage of Prop. 8, Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight takes a more clear-eyed view in a post called Prop. 8 Myths. Nate was hands down the best analyst of polling data in the recently ended election.
Certainly, the No on 8 folks might have done a better job of outreach to California's black and Latino communities. But the notion that Prop 8 passed because of the Obama turnout surge is silly. Exit polls suggest that first-time voters -- the vast majority of whom were driven to turn out by Obama (he won 83 percent [!] of their votes) -- voted against Prop 8 by a 62-38 margin. More experienced voters voted for the measure 56-44, however, providing for its passage.
Now, it's true that if new voters had voted against Prop 8 at the same rates that they voted for Obama, the measure probably would have failed. But that does not mean that the new voters were harmful on balance -- they were helpful on balance. If California's electorate had been the same as it was in 2004, Prop 8 would have passed by a wider margin.
Nate goes on to say that the passage of Prop. 8 was more a generational matter than a racial one. Older voters of all colors were more likely to vote for Prop. 8. Younger voters were more likely to vote against the anti-gay amendment.
It is also worth noting again that Black voters accounted for 10% of the votes cast on November 4. And, while 70% of the Black voters who cast a ballot on Prop. 8 supported, that number was not enough to make the difference in the amendment's passage.
It was widely anticipated that because of the excitement surrounding Obama's campaign that voter turnout would approach record levels. The No on Prop. 8 campaign should have better factored that expectation in their campaign efforts and waged a more aggressive outreach effort to garner the support of voters of color, young voters, newly registered voters and women.
There has been much discussion on Bilerico and elsewhere about what went wrong and undoubtedly there will be more discussion. One point that definitely has to be debunked is the myth that it was Black voters who were only 10% of the electorate that caused the passage of Prop. 8.