PA POLL: Voters Back LGBTQ Protections, Won’t Tolerate Politicians Who Attack LGBTQ People

by Ianthe Metzger

WASHINGTON -- The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ), civil rights organization and Equality Pennsylvania, the statewide organization working to advance LGBTQ equality, today released new polling data conducted by Hart Research Associates one year out from the 2018 midterm elections, showing that likely voters across Pennsylvania overwhelmingly support LGBTQ-inclusive policies and are less likely to vote for a candidate who does not. HRC is on the ground in Pennsylvania, 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 Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support LGBTQ equality,” said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “Just as they have in North Carolina last year and Alabama earlier this month, Pennsylvania voters will stand up to reject candidates who target LGBTQ people. These polling results make it clear -- hate is not a winning political strategy.”

​"This polling data reaffirms what we've been seeing for the past year as we talk to our members in every single county across the state," ​​said ​​John Dawe, Interim Executive Director at Equality Pennsylvania. "As the the LGBTQ community was repeatedly attacked with hateful legislation and policies during the past year, the number Pennsylvanians standing up and making LGBTQ issues a priority in their activism also grew exponentially."

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 Pennsylvania  resoundingly reject elected officials who attack and discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Almost half of voters (46 percent) say they would feel less favorably toward an official who opposes LGBTQ equality, versus 11 percent who say it would make them more favorable toward the official. This 35 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.

Pennsylvania voters also oppose the Trump-Pence administration's efforts to roll back LGBTQ equality, with 53 percent opposing Trump’s efforts to ban qualified transgender people from serving in the United States armed forces. By a wide 22 point margin, voters also oppose laws granting business owners a dangerous license to discriminate.

Overall, Pennsylvania 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:

  • 71 percent of Pennsylvania 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.

  • 59 percent of Pennsylvania voters support allowing LGBTQ people to legally adopt children.

  • 56 percent of Pennsylvania voters support making it illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in employment.

  • 53 percent of Pennsylvania voters support making it illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in housing.

Pennsylvania voters also support passing the Equality Act by a 56 to 25 percent margin. This crucial federal legislation would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.

In July, HRC announced HRC Rising, the earliest, largest grassroots expansion in its 37-year history ahead of 2018 midterms. 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 2,005,000 Pennsylvanians 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.

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



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