Metro Weekly

Even Trump voters supported LGBT rights, poll shows

Polling on behalf of HRC and Equality NC also shows HB 2 was the key issue in Gov. Pat McCrory's defeat

Donald Trump, Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr
Donald Trump, Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Even as Donald Trump was rolling to victory on Election Day, the electorate that elevated him into the White House was generally in favor of LGBT rights, a national poll commissioned on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina shows.

According to the poll of 1,100 voters across the nation, from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, 61 percent of the national electorate supported marriage equality for same-sex couples, while 29 percent opposed it. That was a marked shift from a similar poll after the 2012 election, which showed the national electorate favoring marriage equality by a 50-39 margin. Sixty-three percent of voters across the country believe same-sex marriage is now a permanent right. 

That same poll also asked respondents about the Equality Act, a federal piece of legislation that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they support the Equality Act, while 25 percent oppose it. Nationally, even voters who preferred Trump support the Equality Act by a 55-36 margin.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner also conducted a poll of 500 North Carolina voters to gauge their attitudes surrounding the state’s controversial HB 2 law and its role in contributing to the defeat of Gov. Pat McCrory. According to those results, 62 percent of North Carolina voters opposed HB 2, which repealed local nondiscrimination ordinances with protections for LGBT residents. The law also requires transgender people to use only those restrooms that correspond with their biological sex at birth. Only 30 percent of North Carolina voters supported HB 2.

When voters were asked an open-ended question about the three most important reasons not to support McCrory’s re-election bid, HB 2 came in first with 57 percent of people registering opposition to the bill. Forty percent named McCrory’s support of coal ash legislation, and 36 percent named his position on teacher pay. In a polling memo, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner notes that HB 2 fueled opposition to McCrory, who ended up winning independent voters by only 9 points, compared to the 21-point margin by which President-elect Donald Trump and Republican Sen. Richard Burr won those same independents.

Contrasting McCrory’s loss with Trump’s victory Greenberg Quinlan Rosner noted that LGBTQ issues did not play a major role in the national election. According to the national poll, only 44 percent of voters recall hearing something about Donald Trump and his vice presidential pick Mike Pence’s positions on LGBT rights.

“We still have a lot to learn about the 2016 race, but we do know that it is no longer a politically advantageous to campaign on an anti-equality platform, the memo says. “This country is committed to equality. We only need to ask Pat McCrory whose misreading of voters in North Carolina prevented him from riding a Republican wave in that state and may have cost him his seat.”

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