Donald Trump’s relentless attacks on LGBT+ lives, people of colour and immigrants led to his eventual downfall, research finds

Nick Duffy
·4-min read

Donald Trump’s anti-LGBT+ policies played a big role in driving voters to back Joe Biden, according to new polling carried out for Human Rights Campaign.

The president’s “attacks on people of colour, immigrants and LGBTQ people” were cited by 45 per cent of anti-Trump voters as one of their top three reasons to oppose him, above even the 37 per cent who cited his “failure to protect the country from the coronavirus” and the 33 per cent who cited his “tweeting, bullying and un-presidential behaviour.”

While Trump’s bigotry was the biggest push factor, the biggest pull factor for Joe Biden voters was the belief he will “do a better job with the coronavirus.” Forty-five per cent of Biden voters cited coronavirus as a positive, while 39 per cent said he would “stand up for immigrants, people of colour, LGBTQ people and others targeted by Trump”.

Despite desperate Republican attempts to use transgender rights as a wedge issue to dent the Democratic vote, the polling found that it hardly registered as an issue driving voters away from Biden.

HRC concluded: “Anti-LGBTQ operatives launched aggressive attacks on the transgender community, alleging falsely that Biden supports gender confirmation surgeries for children. That issue ranks dead last as a reason to oppose Joe Biden.”

Americans show strong support for LGBT+ rights, and even Trump voters back anti-discrimination laws.

The polling found that 59 per cent of voters supported overturning Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military personnel, while 67 per cent supported restoring LGBT+ discrimination provisions eliminated under Trump.

It also reaffirms existing findings that an overwhelming majority of Americans support the Equality Act, a bill which would make it illegal to deny services to LGBT+ people in all 50 states. Seventy per cent of voters said they support the proposal, with just 21 per cent opposed.

Although Republicans continue to block the bill’s passage in the Senate, 50 per cent of Trump voters support its passage.

Even among Donald Trump supporters, the Equality Act enjoys a slim majority of support
Even among Donald Trump supporters, the Equality Act enjoys a slim majority of support

Joe Biden has vowed to prioritise passage of the Equality Act in the first 100 days of his term, though he may find it difficult to do so without control of the Senate, where Republicans are favoured to hold the balance of power following a crucial run-off in Georgia.

LGBT+ voters ‘did not waver’ in support for Joe Biden despite reported drop.

The polling also casts doubt on previous exit polling, which suggested 63 per cent of LGBT+ voters had backed Joe Biden, while 27 per cent had voted for Donald Trump.

The new research puts support for Biden among LGBT+ voters 20 points higher, at 83 per cent.

HRC said: “Despite some reports, LGBTQ voters did not waver in their opposition to Trump. The 2020 Edison exit survey purported to show Joe Biden winning only 63 per cent of LGBTQ voters.

“This finding is implausible. In the 2016 Edison exit survey, Hillary Clinton won 77 per cent of the LGBTQ vote. While the 2020 Edison exits showed a modest decline in Democratic support among some base groups, a 14-point drop is hard to reconcile, particularly given the Trump Administration’s homophobic and transphobic record over the last four years.”

Some 1,400 voters were polled by GQRR for the research, including samples in the key sunbelt states of Florida, Texas, Arizona and Georgia.

Noting Republican gains outside of the presidential race, HRC said: “While voters may have delivered an ambiguous message in 2020, they were unequivocal in their support for equality.

“In this survey of 2020 voters, a huge and growing majority of voters support the Equality Act and support rolling back Trump’s attacks on the LGBTQ community. Support for the LGBTQ community and other marginalized groups played a huge role in Joe Biden’s winning majority, competing even with the coronavirus as the top reason to support Joe Biden or oppose Donald Trump.

“And once again, equality voters – a group of voters modelled to support LGBTQ issues and a key focus of the Human Rights Campaign’s activity this election cycle – along with LGBTQ voters delivered massive
margins to pro-equality candidates up and down the ballot. A 79 perc ent majority of equality voters supported Joe Biden for president this year.

“The country remains divided and the hard work of finding common ground has only just begun. But one clear message voters delivered this election — including a healthy number of Trump voters — is that the march toward equality continues to move forward.”