WRAL News poll: NC voters conflicted over HB2

Posted April 12, 2016
Updated April 13, 2016

— North Carolina voters say a new law has hurt the state's image and job prospects and should be completely or partially repealed, but they believe people should be required to use public bathrooms that correspond to their birth gender, according to a WRAL News poll released Tuesday.

The results reflect the ongoing struggle statewide with the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, commonly referred to as House Bill 2, since it was signed into law almost three weeks ago following a one-day special legislative session. The law prohibits transgender people from using public bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity, excludes gays, lesbians and transgenders from discrimination protection in employment and public accommodations and bars cities and counties from extending such protection to them.

Since the law was passed, North Carolina has been publicly ridiculed by comics and pundits and criticized by corporate executives and celebrities. On Tuesday, Deutsche Bank became the latest firm to hold off on expansion plans in the state, freezing an expansion of its operation in Cary, because of the law.

SurveyUSA polled 779 registered voters across the state for WRAL News between Friday and Monday to gauge their opinions on House Bill 2 and its fallout. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

Half of those surveyed disapprove of the law, while 38 percent approve of it and the remaining 12 percent aren't sure. Women and blacks show more hesitancy toward the law than men and whites, and support for the law breaks along political ideological lines, with conservatives strongly in favor and liberals opposed.

Results of WRAL News poll on House Bill 2

When the specific provisions of the law are examined, however, those clear lines become more jumbled.

Bathroom provision backed

On the bathroom provision, 56 percent said they somewhat agree or strongly agree that transgender people should use the bathroom that matches the gender listed on their birth certificates, not one that aligns with their gender identity. Thirty-four percent somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with that provision. Meanwhile, 56 percent also said that allowing a transgender person to use a women's bathroom poses a security risk to women and children, while 35 percent disagreed with that stance.

Republican legislative leaders called the special session after the Charlotte City Council approved an ordinance allowing transgender people to use the bathroom in which they feel more comfortable. The lawmakers said they needed to take immediate action to prevent sexual predators from going into women's bathrooms under the guise of being transgender.

Results of WRAL News poll on House Bill 2

People in Charlotte had the strongest response of any metro area in supporting the bathroom provision of House Bill 2 at 62 percent – 55 percent of Triangle respondents and 48 percent of those in the Triad agreed with it – and believing that transgender bathroom use poses a risk to women and children.

Only a quarter of those polled said they personally know a transgender person, however, and a majority said they don't fully understand what it means to be transgender. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they believe people are transgender by choice, while 35 percent said they believe people are transgender from birth and 6 percent said it was a matter of upbringing.

Discrimination policy hurts

The discrimination provisions of the law are opposed by a majority of those polled, with 52 percent saying protections should include the LGBT community and 36 percent saying they shouldn't. Younger people and minorities provided some of the strongest support for extending protections to gays, lesbians and transgenders, while conservatives and evangelicals were the staunchest opponents.

Results of WRAL News poll on House Bill 2

About a third of respondents said legal protections for gays, lesbians and transgenders don't go far enough in North Carolina, while 25 percent said they go too far and 29 percent said they are adequate. Younger voters, minorities, independents and liberals said more protections are needed for the LGBT community, while older voters and conservatives said too many protections already exist.

Clear majorities also said North Carolina cities should be allowed to set their own minimum wage and that people should be allowed to sue in state court over job discrimination, two protections that were eliminated by House Bill 2.

Sixty-one percent of those polled said the law has hurt North Carolina's image nationally and has hurt the state's ability to attract new jobs. Only 18 percent said the law has helped the state's image, while 13 percent said it has had no impact. An even smaller number, 11 percent, said the law has boosted North Carolina's economic prospects, while 19 percent said it hasn't had any effect.

People who identify themselves as "very conservative" were the only group that clearly believes House Bill 2 has helped the state's image, at 41 to 28 percent. Responses from those who identify as "strong Republicans" were just outside the margin of error, at 39 to 35 percent. Neither of those groups, however, back the stance that the law has helped bring new business to the state.

More than three-fourths of respondents said House Bill 2 needs to be changed, with 37 percent backing an all-out repeal. Twenty percent said the bathroom provision should be the only portion to remain on the books, while 19 percent said other changes should be made. Eighteen percent said the law should remain as is.

Results of WRAL News poll on House Bill 2

Conservatives and Republicans again provided the staunchest support for keeping the law intact, but evangelicals were evenly split on the question, with 26 percent saying it should be left alone, 23 percent calling for a complete repeal, 21 percent in favor of retaining the bathroom provision and 23 percent saying other changes should be made.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Susan Mencer Apr 14, 2016
    user avatar

    I am not "conflicted" and when you say "half" of voters, you should make it clear that you are talking about voters who took this poll. LGBT people have no special rights in this country, except the right to whine.

  • Karen Grigg Apr 13, 2016
    user avatar

    I've been thinking about this issue, and it keeps occurring to me that any solutions should be enforceable, proactive, and positive. Could we not offer businesses that add single occupancy bathrooms a tax credit/incentive that one year it is installed? Trans people tend to prefer that option, anyway. There have to be some creative ideas that would help both trans people and those concerned about having to share bathrooms with the "opposite" sex.

  • Tea Eleph Apr 13, 2016
    user avatar

    Hmmm... I had a [sigh] in there too, but it didn't show up upon posting (perhaps because I used "" rather than "[]"?). Still figuring out this commenting stuff! :-)

  • Tea Eleph Apr 13, 2016
    user avatar

    I suppose reasoned discourse is not possible on internet forums. :-(

  • Eric Hammond Apr 13, 2016
    user avatar

    Meanwhile, supporters of HB2 regularly paint all opponents of HB2 as *advocating* child molestors hanging out in the girls locker room.

    Now THAT is an interesting take... since the supporters of HB2 are actually ENDANGERING young boys who are now required to use the men's room instead of going to the ladies room w/ their mothers! Simple fact of the matter is that pederasts universally consider themselves "straight" despite the fact that they molest little boys!
    Why doesn't the GOP just go ahead and pass a bill requiring all mothers w/ children be accompanied by an adult male family member at all times in public places? Otherwise the aforementioned women are guilty of child endangerment and then DSS gets involved and declares them unfit! Sounds extreme, but this is precisely what this bill does. amongst other things. Sorry GOP but you can not legislate your way around the legal system! the right to seek redress in court is guaranteed by the NC Constitution (Art. 1, Section 18)

  • Tripp Weiland Apr 13, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Now that was funny

  • Tea Eleph Apr 13, 2016
    user avatar

    And Tripp, in the interest of trying to promote more respectful discourse, I felt compelled to respond: I think you do yourself a disservice when you use phrases like "HateBill-2." I understand that you're opposed to the bill, and that's legitimate. And as best as I can tell you're probably pretty intelligent and rational. But when you use phrases like that, and even if they are meant to be humorous, you end up losing a large part of your audience, because those that have the other viewpoint, and even the equivalently intelligent and rational ones, can end up lumping you in with folks like Byron, who do nothing but spout inflammatory rhetoric. So my suggestion is just this: we'd all do well do think twice and try to tone down the "snideness" of our comments, to remain respectful to those on the other side, who after all are the ones that we're most trying to reach, to convince to change their minds.

    Respectfully submitted,


  • Byron Jones Apr 13, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    OK.... Have fun at your pretend beer party. It really hurts that you didn't invite me..............I think I am just going to identify as someone who was invited. Caio

  • Amanda Townsend Apr 13, 2016
    user avatar

    I am not a huge fan of Google for statistics because one can interpret data to support any claim, and there are not many studies supporting either side of this argument. I did find this to be interesting:

    The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And, as explained above, many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.
    From this website:

    There is also this article, though it is old:
    Jenny, Carole, Roesler, Thomas A. , Poyer, Kimberly L. (1994) Are children at risk for sexual abuse by
    homosexuals? Pediatrics, Vol. 94 No. 1, pp. 41-44.

  • Tea Eleph Apr 13, 2016
    user avatar

    I think Steve is quite valid in his point that the Charlotte ordinance as it stood provided a *legal defense* for any man who wanted to hang out in the girls locker room to do so. And I don't think any of us think that's a good thing.

    And I think Karen's completely right that in *practice* the proper solution (and the one that has generally been operating all along while no one's been paying attention) is for people to use the restroom of the gender that they *appear* to be. As a man, I've got no idea if the person in a *stall* is an XY or an XX, and it doesn't really matter (to me or to them).

    And I think that no matter what happens with HB2, nobody's allowed to engage in anything already illegal (molestation, indecent exposure, etc.). I suppose one gray area is "peeping:" when I'm standing at a urinal, at what point does the guy standing next to me looking over at my penis rise to the criminal? Wherever that point is, I don't think it changes based on the guy being XY or XX.