June 23, 2016 - Voters Divided On Transgender Bathroom Rights, Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds; Bare Majority Say U.S. Team Should Go To Olympics Quinnipiac University Polling Logo
PDF format

Voters in three critical swing states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, are about evenly divided on whether transgender people should be allowed to use public bathrooms consistent with their gender identity, but they oppose by large margins forcing public schools to extend these rights, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.

Voters in each state are concerned about the Zika virus, and only a slim majority in each state believes the U.S. Olympic team should compete in Brazil this summer, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. The Swing State Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states.

In Florida, 48 percent of voters say transgender people should have the right to use public bathrooms consistent with their gender identity, while 44 percent say they should not be allowed. Voters oppose 54 - 37 percent, however, requiring public schools to allow transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

In Ohio, 48 percent of voters say transgender people should not be allowed to choose a bathroom, while 43 percent support that right. Voters oppose a bathroom mandate on public schools 55 - 36 percent.

In Pennsylvania, voters support the transgender right to choose a bathroom 49 - 43 percent. But they oppose a mandate on public schools 53 - 39 percent.

"The issue of transgender people and the use of public bathrooms finds voters split on exactly what should be done," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

"Voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania oppose the federal government order to public schools that they must let transgender students use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. But they are split roughly evenly on whether these students should be able to use whatever bathroom they choose," Brown added.

"Eight in 10 voters in these states are aware of the Zika virus, and many are concerned enough about it to worry that they or someone they know might catch it. They are split on the question of whether the U.S. government is doing enough to protect Americans from Zika.

"Perhaps most eye-catching: Only slightly more than half think the U.S. Olympic team should participate in the summer Olympics held this summer in Brazil, considered an epicenter of the virus."

Florida

The transgender bathroom issue opens gender, race, party and age gaps. Supporting the right to choose a bathroom are women 52 - 39 percent, white voters 51 - 42 percent, voters 18 to 34 years old 66 - 29 percent, Democrats 68 - 28 percent and independent voters 48 - 42 percent.

Opposed to bathroom choice are men 50 - 43 percent, non-white voters 50 - 43 percent, voters over 65 years old 48 - 41 percent and Republicans 63 - 27 percent.

The only listed group supporting a transgender bathroom mandate for public schools is Democrats, 57 - 36 percent. Voters 18 to 34 years old are divided 48 - 47 percent.

A total of 62 percent of Florida voters are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" that they or someone they know will contract the Zika virus. The government is not doing enough to protect Americans from Zika, voters say 46 - 37 percent.

While 52 percent of Florida voters say the U.S. Olympic team should compete in Brazil, 29 percent say the athletes should be kept home because of the Zika virus.

"Because of its proximity to South America and the huge amount of tourism from there, Floridians are more concerned about the Zika virus than voters in the other states. They also are more critical of government efforts to stamp it out," Brown said.

Ohio

Ohio is the only Swing State where voters oppose, 48 - 43 percent, allowing transgender people to choose a bathroom. Women are divided on the issue, with 47 percent in favor and 45 percent opposed, while women in Florida and Pennsylvania are more supportive.

Again, the only listed group supporting a transgender bathroom mandate for public schools is Democrats, 52 - 39 percent. Among voters 18 to 34 years old, 46 percent support a mandate on public schools, with 43 percent opposed.

A total of 49 percent of Ohio voters are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" that they or someone they know will contract the Zika virus. The government is doing enough to protect Americans from Zika, voters say by a narrow 42 - 38 percent.

The U.S. Olympic team should compete in Brazil, 51 percent of Ohio voters say, while 30 percent say the athletes should be kept home because of the Zika virus.

"Men, white voters and those with college degrees are more likely among Ohioans to think the U.S. Olympic team should compete in Brazil despite the threat of the Zika virus," Brown said.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania offers the strongest support for transgender people being allowed to choose a bathroom, because opposition from men is less than in Florida and Ohio. Keystone State men are divided with 44 percent in favor of transgender choice and 47 percent opposed.

Democrats are the only listed group supporting a transgender bathroom mandate for public schools 61 - 31 percent. Even voters 18 to 34 years old oppose the mandate.

A total of 52 percent of Pennsylvania voters are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" that they or someone they know will contract the Zika virus. The government is doing enough to protect Americans from Zika, voters say 43 - 36 percent.

While 54 percent of Pennsylvania voters say the U.S. Olympic team should compete in Brazil, 27 percent say the athletes should be kept home because of the Zika virus.

"Pennsylvanians are clearly concerned about contracting the Zika virus. But when it comes to our Olympic athletes, they say go for the gold, risk or not," said Tim Malloy, assistant Director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

From June 8 - 19 Quinnipiac University surveyed:
  • 975 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points;
  • 971 Ohio voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points;
  • 950 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.
Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and the nation as a public service and for research.

Visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling or www.facebook.com/quinnipiac poll. Call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter @QuinnipiacPoll.

36. Do you think people who are transgender should be allowed to use the public bathrooms consistent with the gender they identify with, or not?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Yes/Should           48%    43%    49%
No/Should not        44     48     43
DK/NA                 8      9      8
 
 
37. Do you think public schools should be required to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with the gender they identify with, or not?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Yes/Should           37%    36%    39%
No/Should not        54     55     53
DK/NA                 9      9      8
 
 
38. How much have you heard or read about the Zika virus, which is carried by some mosquitos and can cause birth defects in pregnant women: a lot, some, a little, or nothing at all?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
A lot                55%    37%    41%
Some                 30     40     38
A little             12     18     16
Nothing at all        3      6      4
DK/NA                 -      -      -
 
 
39. How concerned are you that you or someone you know will be affected by the Zika virus; are you very concerned, somewhat concerned, not so concerned, or not concerned at all?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Very concerned       22%    11%    14%
Somewhat concerned   40     38     38
Not so concerned     22     35     29
Not concerned at all 15     15     18
DK/NA                 1      -      1
 
 
40. Do you think the government is doing enough to protect Americans from the Zika virus, or not?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Yes                  37%    42%    43%
No                   46     38     36
DK/NA                17     20     20
 
 
41. Should the U.S. Olympic team compete in Brazil this summer, or should the athletes be kept home because of the Zika virus?