Public supports transgender troops serving openly

August 02, 2017, 6:30 PM GMT+0

42% of Republicans thought President Trump's issuing of the transgender troops ban via Twitter was inappropriate

Americans oppose the President’s position on transgender individuals in the military. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, adults nationwide favor transgender troops serving openly and disapprove of the President’s announcement that the he would not “accept or allow” transgender troops – and they especially dislike his decision to make this announcement on Twitter.

Half the public favor allowing transgender individuals to serve openly, while a third oppose that policy. Fewer than one in four agree with the President that transgender troops could impact military readiness for the worse, while more than half think it would make it better or have no impact. But Republicans, like the President, take a different position: two in three oppose transgender people serving openly and nearly half think it would make military readiness worse.

The President’s announcement gets a similar review. Adults overall disapprove of his decision, but Republicans support it. But there is somewhat more agreement on how he announced it: people disapprove. By three to one, adults nationwide find the president’s decision to use Twitter to make his announcement inappropriate. Republicans, who approve of the announcement, narrowly say using Twitter to do this was inappropriate.

Americans are more accepting of gays and lesbians serving openly in the military than they are of transgender people doing so. While the public favors transgender service 49% to 34%, they support gays and lesbians in the military serving openly by more than two to one. Republicans again are the exception: they oppose gays and lesbians serving openly 49% to 38%. But only a third of Republicans think having gays and lesbians in the military affects readiness for the worse, significantly lower than the 48% who say this about transgender people.

One of the differences between Republicans and others when it comes to transgender troops is that most – more than Democrats or Independents -- say they don’t know anyone who is transgender. 15% of Republicans say they know someone who is transgender, 11 points fewer than the percentage of Independents and 15 points fewer than the percentage of Democrats who do. Those who know someone who is transgender are much more likely to favor allowing them to serve openly.

Three in four Democrats, independents and Republicans know someone who is gay or lesbian. Two-thirds of those who know someone support their service. But even here there is a party difference. Republicans who know someone who is gay or lesbian still oppose their service, 48% to 40%.

See the rest of this week's YouGov/Economist Poll