As North Carolina officials fight to maintain a controversial anti-trans bathroom bill, despite objections from the Department of Justice and business boycotts, a new poll shows that most Americans are against bathroom bills.
The CNN/ORC poll published on Monday found that 57% of respondents oppose "laws that require transgender individuals to use facilities that correspond to their gender at birth rather than their gender identity." 38% of those questioned said they are in favor of such laws, and 5% had no opinion.
Pollsters interviewed 1,001 American adults by phone from April 28 to May 1 of this year—before the DOJ denounced North Carolina's bill. They found not only that Americans oppose bathroom bills, but that they overwhelmingly support laws that would "guarantee equal protection for transgender people in jobs, housing, and public accommodations." Overall,75% of respondents said they were in favor of such laws. When asked if they were in favor of comparable legislation protecting gay Americans, 80% said yes.
Even among Republicans, bathroom bills proved divisive, with 48% saying they oppose and 48% saying the favor the legislation. Meanwhile, 62% of Democratic respondents said they oppose bathroom bills, and 32% support them.
The Washington Post points out that these figures are significant:
The first major national poll on transgender adults in bathrooms would suggest the nation is leaning toward allowing them into bathrooms—without even getting to know them first. That's pretty remarkable… the initial results look promising for LGBT advocates, who hope to convince the greater public there's no real danger to opening up their bathrooms and locker rooms to transgender people.
The poll seems to show that Republican leaders are either out of touch with their constituency, or serving other interests.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.