Friday, February 24, 2017
President Trump is rolling back a recent Obama administration policy that allows transgender students to use the school bathrooms of their choice. Most Americans still agree that local school bathroom policy is not the responsibility of the federal government.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 38% of American Adults favor allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms of the opposite biological sex. Forty-nine percent (49%) are still opposed, while 12% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Support for allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms of the gender they identify with is up from 33% last May, but opposition is down only slightly from 51%. Among Americans with elementary and secondary school age children, 55% were opposed at that time.
However, just 28% of all Americans believe the federal government should be responsible for setting bathroom policies in elementary and secondary schools, compared to 24% last year. The same number (28%) say states should be responsible for such policies, while 36% say it should be up to local government. The Trump administration says state and local governments should be deciding transgender school bathroom policies.
The national telephone survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on February 22-23, 2017. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Fieldwork for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
In November 2015, 64% of Americans opposed the new federal policy allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex. Only 22% favored a law in their state that would make it illegal to deny transgender people the use of public bathrooms corresponding with the gender they identify with.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of Democrats favor allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms of the opposite biological sex, while most Republicans (64%) and adults not affiliated with either party by a 49% to 32% margin are opposed.
Forty-one percent (41%) of Democrats believe the federal government should be responsible for setting bathroom policies in elementary and secondary schools, a view shared by only 20% of Republicans and 22% of unaffiliateds. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Republicans and 65% of unaffiliated voters think school bathroom policies are a state or local responsibility, compared to 48% of Democrats.
Women are more supportive than men of allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice. Those under 40 are almost evenly divided on the question, while most older adults are opposed to such a policy. But most Americans in all these groups see school bathroom policies as up to state or local government.
Thirty-eight percent (38%) of Americans who favor allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms of the opposite biological sex say the federal government should be responsible for school bathroom policies. Just 21% of those who oppose such a policy agree.
In a survey in May 2014, 46% of all Americans favored a law that bans discrimination based on gender identity when it comes to employment, housing and public accommodations in their state. But support for a transgender anti-discrimination law in their state dropped to 24% when adults were told the common criticism that such laws would allow a man to use any woman's bathroom just by claiming he's a woman - or vice versa.
Only 18% believe the federal government should be responsible for setting the education standards for local schools.
Most voters nationwide still don’t want their state to adopt laws that allow a private business not to serve someone if it violates the business owner's religious beliefs. Critics contend that gay, lesbian and transgender customers would suffer under such laws.
Yet while most voters oppose so-called religious freedom laws in general, they are more supportive of the rights such laws attempt to protect. Most, for example, agree that a Christian wedding photographer who has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage has the right to turn down working a job at such a wedding.
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