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LGBTQ+ voters in Michigan, other battleground states overwhelmingly support Biden 

GLAAD survey also finds broader public not supportive of anti-trans policies and candidates

By Jon King, Michigan Advance - March 19, 2024
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American flags and a pride flag hang from the White House during a Pride Month celebration on the South Lawn, Saturday, June 10, 2023, in Washington.
American flags and a pride flag hang from the White House during a Pride Month celebration on the South Lawn, Saturday, June 10, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

A recent poll indicates that President Joe Biden enjoys a nearly 60% advantage over Donald Trump among LGBTQ+ likely voters in battleground states like Michigan, potentially providing a key demographic in his quest for reelection in November.

The poll was conducted in late January by GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ media advocacy organization, and surveyed LGBTQ participants on a variety of topics, including how motivated they were to vote, as well as candidate preference in the presidential campaign and important issues heading into November. 

The results among registered voters, including both LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ participants, indicated that a majority (53%) would oppose “a political candidate [who] speaks frequently about restricting access to health care and participation in sports for transgender youth,” while 81% say health care decisions for youth should be made by parents. 

Additional results show that LGBTQ+ registered voters are highly motivated as the presidential and key congressional campaigns approach, with 94% indicating they are definitely (83%) or probably (11%) voting in November.

“LGBTQ voters are eager to participate in the November 2024 election and are positioned to be a decisive voter bloc, much like they were in the 2020 Presidential election,” noted a release by GLAAD.

“According to analysis in the Washington Post, LGBTQ voters in 2020 were 7 to 8% of the overall electorate, a turnout that played a decisive role in President Joe Biden’s win in the close contest swing states.”

The survey found that nationwide, LGBTQ likely voters prefer Biden over Trump 68 to 15%, a 53-point margin. In seven current battleground states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — that difference grows to 57 points, with 72% expressing support for Biden while Trump’s support remains at 15%.

The survey also indicated that among both LGBTQ+ voters, as well as the broader public, campaigning on anti-transgender issues was not a winning strategy, with 53% of both registered and likely 2024 voters saying they would oppose “a political candidate [who] speaks frequently about restricting access to health care and participation in sports for transgender youth.”

Voters in the survey also overwhelmingly believed that decisions about health care and mental health services for transgender youth should be made by parents. Eighty-one percent of likely 2024 voters agreed with that statement, followed by 83% of swing voters and even 73% of Trump voters.

In addition, when presented with the statement, “Republicans should stop focusing on restricting women’s rights and banning medical care for transgender youth and instead focus on addressing inflation, job creation, and healthcare costs,” 94% of LGBTQ voters agreed, 82% of swing voters and 76% of both registered and likely 2024 voters also concurred.

Those numbers were not a surprise to Emme Zanotti, director of advocacy and civic engagement at the Equality Michigan Action Network.

“Anti-trans politics don’t resonate with the voters who are likely to decide elections in 2024,” Zanotti told the Michigan Advance. “It’s a losing formula for opponents of LGBTQ+ equality. People in Michigan and beyond want to be able to vote for someone who offers sincere solutions to issues like health care and the economy that impact their daily lives. Nothing conveys a lack of seriousness and respect for those issues like punching down at families, taking away bodily autonomy, and inciting panic over trans people simply trying to exist.” 

Meanwhile, a different survey indicates that the percentage of the U.S. population that identifies as LGBTQ+ has more than doubled since 2012.

The Gallup telephone survey of more than 12,000 Americans 18 and older asked respondents whether they identified as heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or another identity. 

Overall, 85.6% say they are straight or heterosexual, while 7.6% identified with one or more LGBTQ+ groups and 6.8% decline to respond. 

In 2020, 5.6% said they were among the LGBTQ+ community and just 3.5% did so in 2012, Gallup’s first year of measuring sexual orientation and transgender identity.

In 2022, Equality Michigan helped to lead a coalition of groups for the #HateWontWin campaign, knocking on over 70,000 doors statewide to energize LGBTQ+ voters to get to the polls. 

Erin Knott, the group’s executive director, recently told the Advance that a similar effort is being made this year, although their budget and core geographies would expand. 

“We have our haters reeling, and we are not letting our foot off the gas,” she said. “So in 2024 we’re going to beat them again. We’re going to out-[door]knock them, we’re going to out-call them, we’re going to out-vote them, and we’re going to do the same thing in 2025 and 2026. We’re going to keep doing this as long as they try to hurt our community members, our people, and our kids.”

This story was originally published in the Michigan Advance


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