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PRESS RELEASE: POLL: Early Voting States Ready to Accept Freedom to Marry as the Law of the Land; Overwhelming Support for Federal Discrimination Protections for LGBTQ Community

Washington, D.C. (July 14, 2015) – A new poll conducted on behalf of American Unity Fund and Project Right Side prior to the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on same-sex marriage offers insight into Republican voters’ views about discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans. The survey reveals strong support nationally and in early voting states for federal non-discrimination legislation, with seventy-one percent (71%) of all voters, including fifty-nine percent (59%) of Republicans, in favor of a law that would protect LGBTQ citizens in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, and education. In addition, voters also believe businesses or retail stores should not be allowed to discriminate against LGBTQ customers, and a plurality would be less likely to shop there if they did. Seventy percent (70%) nationally and fifty-four percent (54%) of Republicans believe businesses should be required to provide services to same-sex couples and LGBTQ individuals.

“The Supreme Court has spoken and voters agree that not only are we ready to move forward as a society and accept marriage equality as the law of the land, but there is overwhelming support for federal non-discrimination legislation to protect LGBTQ citizens who still face discrimination in their daily lives,” said Tyler Deaton, Senior Advisor of American Unity Fund. “It is also the majority sentiment that business owners do not have license to discriminate and refuse service to gay and transgender Americans.”

The data concludes there is broad support among Republican voters in the first four early voting states who will choose presidential nominees for keeping existing federal laws in place while moving forward with other protections for LGBTQ Americans: 70% in Iowa, 78% in New Hampshire, 75% in Nevada, and 46% in South Carolina favor a federal non-discrimination law. Several key voting constituencies support a comprehensive federal non-discrimination policy: millennial voters (77%), millennial GOP voters (79%), voters in the Northeast (78%), women under 45 (79%), Catholics (74%) and African Americans (76%).

“Strong majorities of Americans across the political spectrum, including on the right, believe in fair workplaces where all Americans—gay and straight—are judged based on job performance,” said Ken Mehlman, Founder of Project Right Side and former RNC Chairman.

American Unity Fund and Project Right Side gathered experts from the Republican research community to complete a national survey examining voter sentiment on LGBTQ issues. The results demonstrate that GOP primary electorate attitudes on LGBTQ freedom are more favorable than some candidates and party influencers had previously perceived. AUF and PRS believe this data will help shape the GOP primary discourse and equip Republican candidates with evidence that standing for freedom is both safe and smart politics.

“A strong majority of Americans support marriage equality and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling,” said Samantha Artley, Republican pollster for Target Point Consulting. “As the conversation shifts to questions of LGBTQ protections and religious freedom, it is important for Republican candidates to know there is overwhelming national support and a growing consensus among Republicans for housing and employment protections for LGBTQ families. Further, strong majorities—including historic Republican majorities—do not want to roll back current protections for married gay and lesbian couples.”

The national poll was conducted by Target Point Consulting between June 9-17, and has a margin of error of +/-2.19%. The margin of error for the statewide surveys is +/- 4.38%. In total, a consortium of five GOP polling experts were brought together for the first time to examine results of a survey and produce the definitive Republican research on LGBTQ issues. Pollsters who participated include: Alex Gage, Target Point Consulting; Jan van Lohuizen, Voter Consumer Research; Brock McCleary, Harper Polling; Robert Jones, G2 Strategy Group; and Adam Geller, National Research.

Key Findings:

  • There is strong national support for a federal non-discrimination law that protects LGBTQ people in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, and education: 71% of all voters favor a federal law that would protect gay and transgender people from discrimination in these areas (59% among GOP). In the early states: 70% in Iowa, 78% in New Hampshire, 75% in Nevada, and 46% in South Carolina favor a federal non-discrimination law.
  • A variety of key voting blocks support a comprehensive federal non-discrimination policy: among millennial voters (77%), millennial GOP voters (79%), the Northeast (78%), women under 45 (79%), Catholics (74%) and African Americans (76%).
  • Voters believe businesses or retail stores should be required to provide service to LGBTQ customers as it would to all other customers, and a plurality would be less likely to shop there if they didn’t. 70% nationally, including 54% of Republican voters believe businesses such as hair salons, retail stores, gyms, gas stations, law or accounting firms, hotels or restaurants should be required to provide services to same-sex couples or LGBTQ customers.
  • Similar implications exist for candidates running for office: 40% of voters, including 23% of GOP voters, would be more likely to support a candidate who publicly endorses a national law to protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination.
  • 71% of all voters favor a federal law that would protect gay and transgender people from discrimination in employment (59% among GOP). In the early states: 70% in Iowa, 78% in New Hampshire, 75% in Nevada, and 46% in South Carolina favor a federal non-discrimination law.
  • When asked about a federal non-discrimination law that includes exemptions for religious organizations we see a dip in support nationally but a boost in support among voters in the early state South Carolina where it increases from 46% to 61% favoring this type of federal non-discrimination policy.

Deaton added, “What we can conclude from these results is that voters across the country, including Republicans, acknowledge that more protections are needed to ensure equal rights for all LGBTQ Americans who still face discrimination, whether it be in the workplace, when purchasing a home for their family, or simply looking to patronize a local business. As we look forward to the 2016 election cycle, Republican candidates seeking voter approval should heed this nationwide sentiment to treat every citizen equally under the law.”

Poll Memo

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