Most Americans support adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution

Jamie BallardData Journalist
June 05, 2018, 3:30 PM GMT+0

A majority of Americans (61%) say they believe adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution would be a positive development for the country

The state of Illinois recently became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, and Americans are largely in support of the decision, according to a new survey from YouGov Omnibus.

A majority of people (55%) said that they considered Illinois’ choice to ratify the amendment -- which guarantees equal legal rights to all American citizens regardless of sex -- to be a good decision, compared to 10% who thought it was a bad decision. However, over a third (35%) said they weren’t sure if it was a good or bad decision.

The Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress in 1972 and sent to the states for ratification. In order to be added to the US Constitution, it needed to be approved by legislatures in three-fourths (38) of the states. Fifteen states did not ratify the amendment by the 1982 deadline, although two of these states — Nevada and Illinois — have ratified it in recent years.

If one more state ratifies it, there’s a possibility that the amendment could be added to the Constitution. A majority of Americans (61%) say they believe that would be a positive development for the country. Democrats (81%) were far more likely than Republicans (46%) and Independent (54%) voters to consider this a positive development.

Nearly one-third of men said they didn’t think the amendment was necessary. When asked how they felt about the statement, “The Equal Rights Amendment is not necessary and therefore should not be added to our nation’s founding document,” 29% of men said they “strongly” or “somewhat” agree, compared to 23% of women.

People 65 and up were the most well-acquainted with the amendment. A large majority (70%) of people in this group said they were “very familiar” or “somewhat familiar” with the amendment. Americans between 18 and 29 years old were exactly equally split on how well they know the amendment: 50 percent said they were “very familiar” or “somewhat familiar,” while the other half of the group said they were not. 14 percent of people in this demographic said they were “not at all familiar” with the Equal Rights Amendment.

But even those who may not know the details of the Equal Rights Amendment tended to agree with the idea of a federal gender equality law. Two-thirds (66%) of people said they strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement, “I think that there should be a federal law ensuring that men and women have equal rights.” Women (72%) were slightly more likely than men (61%) to be in favor of a federal law ensuring gender equality.

Learn more about YouGov Omnibus.

See the full results here.

Image: Getty