As the holidays draw closer and as presbytery voting on Amendment 10a starts to slow down, let’s take a moment to quickly analyze the data from this first season of voting. Despite the scoreboard (5 wins 12 loses) there are some definite positive trends, and - if one looks at previous votes from 2001 and 2008 (08-B and 01-A, or previous overtures similar to Amendment 10a) - the news is encouraging.
A QUICK SUMMARY OF VOTES FROM THIS FALL:
Yes votes: 5
No votes: 12
Previous "yes" presbyteries held at "yes": 5 out of 5
Presbyteries shifting pro-equality: 13
Presbyteries shifting anti-equality: 4
Long story short: the final "yes" and "no" votes were expected, but the close margins were not - there is a good bit of movement in support of 10A. The key word here is "momentum."
1) Supporters of 10a are holding important ground and increasing margins of victory. Of the 17 presbyteries that have voted thus far, every presbytery that ratified 2008’s 08-B overture (5) also ratified this year’s 10A Amendment. More importantly, of the 4 presbyteries that produced voting numbers (the Presbytery of Northern New York - which voted in favor of the amendment - took an unrecorded hand vote) all voted in favor of 10a with a higher margin than that of 2008’s 08-B vote.
2) There is momentum. James presbytery, for instance, was only 39.4% in favor of 2008’s 08-B resolution, yet jumped 10% in favor of this year’s 10a amendment, resulting in a 50/50 tie. Moreover, of the 17 presbyteries that have voted thus far, only 4 saw a dip in support from their 2008 08-B vote, and none by more than 5.5% (most were within a point or two). The other 12 that produced vote tallies all saw 3-20% increases in support when compared to the 2008 vote.
3) Early returns signal that approval for the amendment is increasing, including areas where support has waned in the past. Of the 17 presbyteries that have voted thus far, 8 were less supportive of the 2008’s 08-B resolution than they were of the 2001’s 01-A resolution. This time around, however, these limited downward trends seem to have stopped: 7 of those 8 presbyteries were more supportive of 2010‘s 10a than of 2008’s 08-B.
For a visual explanation of all of this, check out the picture below. It shows the shifts from 2001 to 2010, and includes the overall “percent yes” tallies from similar votes from previous years. More importantly: notice the large amount of green beginning with the 10A voting numbers. For supporters of 10a, this is an encouraging sign.
(click the image to make it bigger)
Green = upward trend of support. Red = Downward trend. Gold = Ratified Amendment 10a
When you put it all together, these early results exhibit encouraging trends: supporters of 10a are holding ground, running up the score, and bolstering support in new areas.