WASHINGTON – New polling by a prominent Republican pollster shows a supermajority of voters – 68%, including 56% of Republicans – support a federal law protecting gay and transgender employees from discrimination in the workplace.
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on such a law – the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) - in the coming weeks. Currently, there are no state laws prohibiting an employer from firing or refusing to hire someone simply because he or she is gay or transgender in a majority of states.
“ENDA is common-sense legislation that rings true with the overwhelming majority of voters, including Republicans,” said Target Point Consulting’s Alex Lundry, one of the country's leading experts on voter analytics who has worked for several Republican presidential candidates and Fortune 10 companies. “The American people believe in the values of hard work and the Golden Rule – these are the reasons why support for ENDA is off the charts."
In addition to the national poll, Lundry utilized new modeling techniques to estimate support for ENDA in all 50 states, finding majorities in each state back a federal law to protect LGBT employees. The model projects, for instance, support well over 60 percent in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Arkansas.
Americans for Workplace Opportunity, which is the campaign to pass ENDA, and Project Right Side commissioned the national poll of 2,000 registered voters conducted by Lundry on Sept. 3-8, 2013.
The poll also found eight in 10 Americans believe it’s already illegal to discriminate against people simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The idea that employers would judge their employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity instead of performance and hard work is so offensive to the basic sensibilities of Americans that an overwhelming majority already think it is illegal,” said Jeff Cook-McCormac, American Unity Fund Senior Advisor. “Voters strongly feel that merit matters most and they are shocked to learn that discrimination is still legal and that is why we see broad bipartisan support to pass ENDA this year.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he wants to bring the bill to the floor. ENDA passed out of a key Senate committee this past summer by a 15-7 bipartisan vote – with support from Republican Senators Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Orrin Hatch (Utah).
More than 100 of the nation’s major businesses have spoken out in favor of ENDA, including Citigroup, Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline, Groupon, General Mills and US Airways. A full list is available here. Faith leaders back the bill as well. This summer, 50 religious leaders from varying faith traditions sent a letter to Congress expressing their support for ENDA.
The polling memo is available online HERE.
Americans for Workplace Opportunity is the campaign to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act through Congress. It is led by diverse, bipartisan organizations representing millions of Americans who support ENDA, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Unity Fund, Communications Workers of America, Gill Action, the Human Rights Campaign, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and the Service Employees International Union.
Project Right Side is a conservative organization that provides research and analysis to improve the political climate for gay and lesbian issues across the political spectrum.