New Gallup Poll Shows 68 Percent Of Americans Support Hate Crimes Bill Before Congress

by HRC Staff

WASHINGTON - A new national poll conducted by Gallup shows an overwhelming support of the American people for passage of federal hate crimes legislation currently being considered in Congress. The poll, conducted on May 10-13, shows that 68 percent of all Americans believe that current federal hate crime laws should be expanded to include "sexual orientation, gender and gender identity." Even more impressive is that this support cuts across partisan, ideological and religious lines with a majority of each of those demographic groups supporting the legislation.

"This new national poll continues to reiterate how incredibly out-of-touch right-wing organizations are with the will of the American people and underscores the need for the Senate to pass this bill," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "I hope President Bush will look at this poll and realize how unbelievably out-of-line a threatened veto of this critical crime-fighting piece of legislation is with a majority of Americans. President Bush's threatened veto isn't even supported by his base. The writing is on the wall and it is past time for President Bush to stop bowing to the pressure of James Dobson, Pat Robertson and other right-wing, anti-gay leaders and join the majority of Americans who want to see this bill become law."

On May 3, the morning of the House vote on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1592), the White House put out a "Statement of Administration Policy" stating, "If H.R. 1592 were presented to the president, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."

When broken down by self-identified demographic subgroups the poll finds the following majorities support passage of federal hate crimes legislation before Congress:

  • 60% of Republican
  • 69% of Independents
  • 75% of Democrats
  • 57% of Conservatives
  • 64% of Independents
  • 82% of Liberals
  • 65% of Protestants (and other non-Catholics)
  • 72% of Catholics
  • 74% of other religion
  • 74% of those with no religious identity
  • 64% of those who attend church regularly
  • 67% of those who attend church almost every week/monthly
  • 73% of those who attend church seldom/never

In fact, Gallup reports that, "No group identifiable in Gallup's standard categories used for subgroup analysis expresses less than majority support for the type of action passed by the U.S. House in H.R. 1592." The Local Law Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1592) passed the U.S. House on May 3, 2007, with a bipartisan vote of 237 to 180. The bill's identical counterpart, the Matthew Shepard Act, is now before the U.S. Senate where a vote is expected to happen in the near future.

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and the identical Senate bill, the Matthew Shepard Act, would update the current federal hate crimes law to include all Americans and would provide local law enforcement officials with federal resources to help investigate and prosecute hate crimes.

In addition to enjoying the overwhelming support of the American people, the hate crimes bill also has the support of more than 230 organizations law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, including: President George H.W. Bush's attorney general, Dick Thornburgh 26 state attorneys general the National Sheriffs' Association the International Association of Chiefs of Police the U.S. Conference of Mayors the Presbyterian Church the Episcopal Church and the Parent's Network on Disabilities. (See a full list of organizations supporting the bill.)

Results of the Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews with 1,003 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted May 10-13, 2007. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

To read more information about this newly released national poll go to Gallup's website.

To read more about the federal hate crimes bill or to become involved in supporting passage, visit:

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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