New poll: Americans support LGBTQ non-discrimination protections across partisan, racial and gender lines

As North Carolina communities pass new LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination policies and a new N.C. House bill seeks to exclude transgender women from women’s sports teams, a new poll out this week finds more than three in four Americans (76%) favor laws to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodation.

The new data comes from the 2020 American Values Atlas, a project of the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute. The group surveyed more than 10,000 adults in the U.S. from January 2020 to December, finding a higher level of support for non-discrimination protections than it has ever before recorded. In 2019 the survey found 72 percent of those surveyed supported such protections, about the same level it found in 2016.

The increased support, a majority across partisan, racial and gender lines, comes as the U.S. Senate is poised to consider The Equality Act.

“The increase in support for LGBT nondiscrimination protections since 2015 has largely come among Americans of color and white mainline Protestants,” the group noted in a statement on the results. “White mainline Protestants and Black Americans have grown 10 percentage points more likely to favor nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Americans from 2015 to 2020 (from 73% to 82% and 65% to 75%, respectively). Multiracial Americans (from 72% to 81%), Black Protestants (from 64% to 73%), Americans ages 30 to 49 (from 73% to 81%), independents (from 73 to 78%), and Democrats (from 78% to 85%) have all become more likely to favor protections than they were in 2015.”

Majorities of all partisan groups supported the protections, according to the group, though support was higher among Democrats and Independents.

“Support for LGBT nondiscrimination protections among Democrats remained relatively steady in 2015 (78%), 2017 (79%), and 2018 (79%), before rising slightly in 2019 (81%) and 2020 (85%)<” the group said its statement. “Support among independents was also relatively steady: Around seven in ten favored protections in 2015 (73%), 2017 (72%), 2018 (70%), and 2019 (72%), and increased to 78% in 2020. Republican support declined slightly, from 61% in 2015 to 58% in 2017 and 56% in 2018, before climbing back to 61% in 2019 and 62% in 2020.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey found that women and younger people support the protections in the largest numbers.

“Seven in ten or more Republicans (70%), independents (84%), and Democrats (89%) under age 50 support nondiscrimination protections,” the group said. “Support is lower among Republicans (56%), independents (71%), and Democrats (81%) over age 50.”

Women are more likely than men to favor nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Americans, with  two-thirds of Republican women (68%) favoring the protections as compared to 57% of Republican men. About 82 percent of Independent women said they supported the protections while  75% of Independent men said they did.  The gender gap was smaller between Democratic women (87%) and Democratic men (83%).

The survey also found strong support for the protections across racial and ethnic lines.

Find the full survey results and information about methodology here.

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