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Reality Check: Republicans Leaders Miscalculated; Amendments Backfired

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Nearly 3 million Minnesotans showed up at the polls on Election Day –that’s a voter turnout of 76 percent.

Minnesotans defeated two constitutional amendments: one to define marriage as only between a man and a woman, and another to require voters to show a government approved ID when they cast a ballot.

It appears the amendments motivated many voters to go to the polls, after some Republicans had calculated it would drive turnout — and help them win.

But the numbers show that it turned out to be a big miscalculation.

Minnesota was heading for another near-record turnout when President Barack Obama claimed victory on Tuesday night over Gov. Mitt Romney. We know now that many voters were motivated by the marriage amendment, but it was not restricted to only one party.

More people voted on the marriage amendment than for Obama or Romney.

A total of 2,861,955 million people voted for Romney or Obama. Even more — 2,905,763 — voted on the marriage amendment, which failed.

That’s a difference of 43,808 voters.

And in fact: Opposition to a gay marriage ban was bi-partisan, racking up vote margins higher than the presidential races in key Minnesota counties.

In Scott County, Romney beat Obama 56 percent to 41 percent. But voters rejected the gay marriage ban 51 percent to 49 percent.

Obama won Hennepin County 62 percent to 35 percent.

But the marriage amendment vote had a larger margin, 65 percent to 35 percent.

What the numbers tell us is this: Republican leaders put gay marriage and voter ID on the ballot, strategizing it would bring out more GOP voters; instead, it backfired.

Voters rejected both amendments — even in Republican districts — and it helped turn over control of the Legislature to Democrats.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

Gay Marriage, Voter ID Amendment Language

MN Voter Turnout

2012 MN Election Results

MN Marriage Amendment Vote by County

Hennepin County Election Results

Scott County Election Results

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