New Poll: 59% of Voters Less Likely to Support Candidates Who Oppose Non-Discrimination Protections

by Stephen Peters

Polling shows strong bipartisan support for LGBT non-discrimination protections, including nearly two-thirds of likely Republicans voters

WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released theresults of a new Democracy Corps survey from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, demonstrating that 59%  of likely 2016 voters are less likely to support a candidate who opposes non-discrimination protections for LGBT people.  These results come just before a new federal LGBT non-discrimination bill is expected to be introduced in Congress.

“Opposing LGBT non-discrimination protections is costly and will grow costlier by the day,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs.“The overwhelming majority of voters who believe that LGBT people should be protected from discrimination in the workplace – a value that reaches across party lines – also makes clear that the time to pass explicit, comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination protections is long overdue.”

In March, polling conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for HRC revealed that nearly two-thirds of LGBT Americans (63 percent) have faced discrimination in their lives, with LGBT people reporting workplace discrimination the most frequently experienced form of discrimination.

Key findings of the new Democracy Corps survey:

  • Voters reject discrimination. By an impressive 78 percent to 16 percent, voters support protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment. These results are very consistent with past surveys; in 2011, voters supported this proposal by a 79 to 18 percent margin.

  • Support for non-discrimination unites the country. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of likely Republican voters support protecting LGBT people from workplace discrimination, as do 90 percent of Democrats. Similarly, this legislation draws impressive majorities of support among college (84 percent) and non-college voters (73 percent), younger (85 percent) and older (75 percent), as well as observant Christians (70 percent).

  • Voters will also consider this issue when voting next year.  Nearly six-in-ten (59 percent) voters are less likely to support a candidate for president who opposes protecting LGBT people in the workplace. Just 27 percent are more likely and 9 percent say it would make no difference.  In addition, 61 percent of Independent voters say they are less likely to support a candidate who opposes these protections, as do 58 percent of Catholic voters, and 54 percent of blue collar voters.

  • This could be a key issue among white millennial voters. Arguably, the most interesting group in this debate is white millennial voters (defined here as voters born between 1980 and 1997). These younger voters supported Obama in 2008, but voted Republican in 2010, 2012 and 2014, reflecting their frustration with the slow pace of change. However, they are committed to equality. A near-unanimous 86 percent support employment protections for LGBT people. Moreover, 65 percent are less likely to support a candidate who opposes these protections.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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