Trump voters overwhelmingly support LGBTQ+ equality, new poll finds
This story was published in partnership with The 19th, a non-profit, impartial newsroom covering gender, politics, and politics.
President Donald Trump's supporters may take his side on a number of issues, but LGBTQ + rights are likely not one of them. A new poll shows that voters in major swing states are likely to be overwhelmingly supportive of LGBTQ + equality - including those who support Trump.
Proponents of LGBT rights protest in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington on Tuesday, October 8, 2019. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on LGBT rights in its first cases since Anthony Kennedy's resignation from Justice.
The poll, published by Hart Research Associates and the LGBTQ + organization Human Rights Campaign, includes data from 400 likely voters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. Voters across the board expressed their support for marriage equality, adoption rights and transgender military service. Texas was the only state where voters expressed negative attitudes towards an LGBTQ + equality issue - 49 percent did not support laws that would allow companies to reject LGBTQ + customers based on their religious beliefs.
Among Trump voters, at least 60 percent in each state said transgender people should be able to live freely and openly, and 87 percent or more supported transgender people's access to health care.
"I think when you look at this in its entirety, a lot of conservatives out there fail to think that LGBTQ issues are a really big wedge," said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for politics and political affairs of the people's rights campaign. "And those days are over."
The poll, conducted in mid-September, also asked voters for their views on a Supreme Court election. With a margin of at least three to one, voters in each state endorsed a judiciary "that has been shown to protect and promote the legal rights of LGBTQ people."
The new poll not only raises questions about Trump's efforts to target his grassroots base, but also raises new questions in support of Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett, who has been criticized as anti-LGBTQ + by 27 equality organizations. The groups have blown their affiliations with Alliance Defending Freedom, a vehement anti-LGBTQ + organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a hate group.
In a 2016 presentation at Jacksonville University, Barrett said that judges do not rule over personal beliefs or the opinion of the population. In the same speech, however, she indicated that doing so would "burden" the text of Title IX to allow transgender people to use public toilets that match their gender.
"People on both sides will be passionate about whether physiological men who identify as women should be allowed in bathrooms, especially when young girls are present," Barrett said.
The survey also found attitudes toward transgender athletes, an issue that many conservative lawmakers have been pushing for this year. More than 200 anti-LGBTQ + laws hit state legislatures earlier this year, many of which aimed to prevent transgender girls from joining girls' sports teams. However, out of all the subjects rated by the voters, trans participation in athletics came last. Between 1 and 3 percent of respondents said this was the first edition in most states (Texas had the highest interest at 6 percent). The economy has outpaced concerns. 47 percent of voters said this was their first issue.
Winterhof admitted that for many LGBTQ + people the survey might be a contradiction in terms. This year marked the deadliest transgender person's history, and the 2020 election season saw a series of homophobic and transphobic political attacks.
"I think it is not people's intention to discriminate," said Winterhof, adding that there are exceptions.
Winterhof believes the Trump administration has inflamed anti-LGBTQ + sentiments and normalized violence. But she also says the poll shows something that proponents have long known - homophobia doesn't actually win elections.
"We see the polls that basically tell us that teenagers and young adults ... that one in five identifies as LGBTQ," she said. “And how many people are touched by these children coming out at this younger age? It feels like a secret, but it's not such a secret that we're in everyone's families. The Protestant family has LGBTQ children. "
That means lawyers are no longer focused on gaining acceptance, she said. They work to educate voters about LGBTQ + problems and the candidates who support them.
"Our issue is much more about voter turnout than persuasion," she said.
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: New polls show Trump voters in swing states support LGBTQ + equality
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