HRC and Equality Ohio, today released new polling data from Hart Research Associates one year out from the 2018 midterm elections, showing that likely voters across Ohio overwhelmingly support LGBTQ-inclusive policies and are less likely to vote for a candidate who does not. HRC is on the ground in Ohio, a priority state through HRC Rising -- the largest and earliest grassroots expansion in its 37-year history.

“A year out from the midterm elections, the data clearly show that Ohioans overwhelmingly support LGBTQ equality,” said Shawn Copeland, HRC Ohio State Manager. “Just as they have in North Carolina last year and Alabama last month, Ohio voters will stand up to reject candidates who target LGBTQ people. These polling results make it clear -- hate is not a winning political strategy.”

“These findings reflect the conversations I’ve had with Ohioans in every corner of this state,” said Alana Jochum, Equality Ohio Executive Director. “I encourage elected officials and candidates for public office to take these numbers seriously, because they speak two very simple truths. First, we won’t go backwards on LGBTQ issues. Second, it’s time for lawmakers to take banning discrimination against LGBTQ people seriously.”

Following the defeat of anti-LGBTQ politicians like former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, the new polling makes clear that voters in Ohio resoundingly reject elected officials who attack and discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Almost half of voters (43 percent) say they would feel less favorably toward an official who opposes LGBTQ equality, versus 9 percent who say it would make them more favorable toward the official. This 34 point margin demonstrates just how toxic it is to attack LGBTQ people for perceived political gain. Voters will no longer tolerate discrimination against their family, friends and neighbors.

Ohio voters also oppose the Trump-Pence administration's efforts to roll back LGBTQ equality, with 59 percent opposing Trump’s efforts to ban qualified transgender people from serving in the United States armed forces. By a wide 23 point margin, voters also oppose laws granting business owners a dangerous license to discriminate.

Overall, Ohio voters support LGBTQ equality and protections for LGBTQ people such as banning so-called “conversion therapy” and prohibiting discrimination against prospective LGBTQ parents and kids in foster care and adoption. Other key findings from the poll:

  • 68 percent of Ohio voters support LGBTQ employees having access to paid family and medical leave, without fear of losing a paycheck or their job for the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a sick family member.
  • 55 percent of Ohio voters support allowing LGBTQ people to legally adopt children.
  • 61 percent of Ohio voters support making it illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in employment.
  • 53 percent of Ohio voters support making it illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in housing.

HRC has endorsed Senator Sherrod Brown for reelection. Brown is a longstanding advocate for LGBTQ equality, scoring 100 percent on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard for the last six years running. He voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2010 and for passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009. He is currently a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, crucial federal legislation that would finally guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our nation's existing civil rights laws. Ohio voters support passing this legislation by a 53 to 22 percent margin.

In July, HRC announced HRC Rising, the earliest, largest grassroots expansion in its 37-year history. This historic campaign to win equality in states from coast-to-coast, resist the politics of hate, fight anti-LGBTQ legislation, and fuel pro-equality candidates and initiatives, will include six priority states: Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, HRC has identified more than 1,550,000 Ohioans as likely “Equality Voters” — those who are strong supporters of policies that advance LGBTQ equality, including marriage equality and other measures prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Read the full polling memo here.


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