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Poll finds most voters agree that anti-LGBTQ bills are result of ‘political theater'

Polling conducted by Data for Progress shows 72% of Democrats, 65% of independents and 55% of Republicans think there is too much legislation targeting LGBTQ rights.

By Will Fritz - April 05, 2023
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lgbtq, Human Rights Campaign rally
Human Rights Campaign organized a rally andmarch on Sunday, May 1, 2016 from the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson to the Governor's Mansion to protest HB 1523 which was signed into law in April.

Most of the likely voters in one recent poll believe Republican lawmakers are going too far with legislation targeting civil rights for trans people and other members of the LGBTQ community.

poll conducted by the progressive polling group Data for Progress and released March 31 indicates that some 64% of likely voters that responded — 72% of Democrats, 65% of independents and 55% of Republicans — agree that 429 bills targeting the rights of trans and gay people is “too much legislation” and with the statement “Politicians are playing political theater and using these bills as a wedge issue.”

At least 11 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota and West Virginia — have passed restrictions or bans on gender-affirming care for minors, according to the Associated Press. According to information on the data collection website Trans Legislation Tracker, anti-trans legislation has been introduced in 47 states in 2023. Last week, the trans community and allies called attention to these bills during rallies held to mark Transgender Day of Visibility.”Our polling reveals that Republican politicians advocating for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation are out of step with the American electorate,” the authors of the Data for Progress’ report stated. “Likely voters oppose this legislation and are willing to support Democratic politicians who directly fight it.”

About 25% of likely voters polled agreed that the current bills are “the right amount of legislation” and that politicians introducing them “are dealing with a real danger that needs to be addressed.” That’s a view held by 20% of Democrats, 21% of independents and 33% of Republicans. A total of 11% of likely voters polled didn’t have a position, or 9% of Democrats, 14% of independents and 11% of Republicans.

The poll, a web panel survey of 1,220 likely voters from across the U.S. weighted for age, gender, education, race, geography, and voting history was carried out between March 24 and March 26 and has a margin of error of ±3%.

A clear majority of those polled support pro-trans positions: 57% of those polled agreed with the statement “Transgender identities are a natural phenomenon that has occurred throughout history. It’s normal for free societies to have individuals who identify outside,” compared to 33% who disagreed; 69% agreed that trans adults “should be allowed to change their bodies however they want,” while 22% disagreed.

Support for these statements was higher among Democrats and independents than among Republicans, but even so, a majority of Republicans, 55%, also agreed that trans adults should be permitted to change their bodies in whatever way they see fit. Only 34% of Republicans agreed that trans identities are natural, though, while 55% of Republicans disagreed.

The poll did show that there may be room for improvement on the public’s understanding of trans people.

Likely voters vastly overestimated the number of trans people in the U.S. Asked to guess what percentage of Americans are trans or nonbinary, the average estimate was 21%; only 1.6% of all Americans identify as trans or nonbinary. On average, many also guessed that a significant minority of 25% of those under 30 are trans, but the real number is only 5%. And most guessed that 29% of those who transition later regret their decision, while this is true only for 1-8% of people who undergo a transition.

The poll shows that one of the most important determining factors for a voter’s support of trans and nonbinary people is whether or not they know a trans or nonbinary person.

“Among those who do not know a trans or nonbinary person, 45 percent view them as a threat to children and 32 percent see them as a threat to heterosexual families,” the report’s authors wrote. “However, among those who do know a trans or nonbinary person, these figures drop to 27 percent and 16 percent, respectively.”

Only 33% of those polled said they knew someone who is trans or nonbinary, while 58% said they do not know anyone with those identities. Even among Democrats, just 36% answered that they personally know someone who is trans or nonbinary. That number was 39% for independents and 25% for Republicans.

Importantly for the Democratic Party, the report’s authors state that 56% of likely Democratic voters agree with the statement “Democrats can energize their base by taking a strong stance against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.”

Thirty-seven percent of likely Democratic voters, however, believe the party “is already doing enough” on LGBTQ+ rights.

The authors of Data for Progress’ report make the case that educating the American public about the trans and LGBTQ+ communities will improve support for efforts to protect them.

“Our polling highlights that knowing trans people and experiencing queer culture significantly improves likely voters’ support for trans and queer rights,” the authors of the report said. “Increasing public awareness and understanding of transgender and queer people shouldn’t solely be the responsibility of trans people. The Democratic Party should also play an active role in this effort, using its platform to demonstrate to Americans who have never met a trans person that trans people are just as human as they are.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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