A recent Economist-YouGov poll on President Trump and a range of other issues gives him a poor numbers on his handling of LGBT rights just days after the administration reaffirmed its ban on transgender military service.
A total of 29 percent of U.S. adults said they approve of the way Trump is handling gay rights, with 12 percent saying they strongly approve and 17 percent saying they somewhat approve. Meanwhile, a total of 44 percent said they disapprove of his handling of this issue, with 9 percent saying they somewhat disapprove and 35 percent saying they strongly disapprove. Twenty-seven percent had no opinion.
The poll was conducted between March 25 and March 27 among 1,500 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of 3.4 percent. The poll also asked respondents about a variety of issues, including views of foreign countries, trade and social media websites.
On whether respondents approved of Trump’s performance as president generally, a total of 39 percent said they approve, with 19 percent saying they strongly approve and 20 percent saying they somewhat approve. But 49 percent said they disapprove, with 9 percent saying they somewhat disapprove and 40 percent saying they strongly disapprove. Twelve percent weren’t sure.
Respondents were specifically asked about their views on transgender people in the U.S. military and Trump’s attempt to ban them from the armed forces — a move he reaffirmed with a memo last week. Despite the memo, the Pentagon is continuing to assess and retain transgender service members in accordance with court orders against his earlier policy.
A plurality of 49 percent said they support openly transgender service, with 31 percent saying they favor it strongly and 18 percent saying they favor it somewhat. Meanwhile, 11 percent said they oppose it somewhat, 23 percent said they strongly oppose it and 17 percent didn’t know.
On whether transgender service has increased military readiness, 10 percent said it has made readiness better, 45 percent said it hasn’t made much difference, 26 percent said it made it worse and 20 percent said they don’t know.
Asked whether they support Trump’s ban, a total of 34 percent said they support it and 48 percent said they were against it. Twenty-four said they strongly approve, 10 percent said they somewhat approve, 13 percent said they somewhat disapprove, 35 percent said they strongly disapprove and 18 percent said they weren’t sure.
Kathy Frankovic, a survey research professional for CBS News, said in a blog post the numbers demonstrate Trump’s ban isn’t what the public wants.
“There is relatively little difference between the general opinion about transgender troops and opinion about the president’s specific decision to ban them,” Frankovic writes. “The overall assessment of the president’s action is negative – except among Republicans.”
The poll also asked respondents if gay rights is the most important issue to them given a choice of that topic among a total of 15. Only two percent said it’s the most important, placing it in ranked importance ahead of only the war in Afghanistan, which zero percent say is the most important issue, and foreign policy, which one percent say is the most important issue, The economy and Social Security were tied at 16 percent as the most important issue.
Another question was asked about the importance of gay rights. Twenty-three percent said the issue is very important, 25 percent said somewhat important, 24 percent said not very important and 28 percent said unimportant.
The poll also asked whether respondents personally know someone who’s gay or transgender and results were markedly different between the two.
Seventy-one percent said they personally know someone who’s gay, but 21 percent said they didn’t and 8 percent weren’t sure. In contrast, 23 percent said they know someone who’s transgender, but 68 percent said they don’t and nine percent weren’t sure.
As noted by Frankovic, the table results reveal knowing someone who’s transgender increases support for allowing them to serve two-to-one.
The results found Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to know someone who is transgender. However, veterans and those 65 and older are least likely to know a transgender person. Only 11 percent of veterans said they know a transgender people and 13 percent of those 65 and older said they do.
h/t Pink News
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.