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WRAL News poll: Voters back bonds, want action on Charlotte transgender ordinance

Posted March 8

Restroom, bathroom

— If lawmakers decide to hold a special session to overturn Charlotte's transgender nondiscrimination ordinance, they'll have the backing of voters like Brenda Taylor.

"I cannot even believe this is happening in America," said Taylor, 65, who is retired and lives in Knightdale. "God either made you male, or he made you female. No sir, I don't want to go into a bathroom with a so-called transgendered person."

She is among the 36 percent of respondents to a recent WRAL News poll who said that the General Assembly should act to overturn Charlotte's ordinance. Another 30 percent said lawmakers should let voters in Charlotte decide by declaring a Mecklenburg County referendum on the issue. Only 27 percent of those surveyed said legislators should leave the ordinance alone, with 8 percent saying they were unsure.

SurveyUSA polled 2,000 adults, of whom 1,800 are registered voters and 1,555 were identified as likely primary voters. The survey took place over four days and had an overall margin of sampling error of 2.2 to 2.5 percentage points, depending on the question.

The new ordinance seeks to prohibit discrimination against transgendered people in a number of instances, but the section of the law that has garnered the most attention allows transgendered people to use the bathroom in which they feel most comfortable. It goes into effect April 1, which is more than three weeks before lawmakers are scheduled to return on April 25 for their regularly scheduled session.

House Speaker Tim Moore said last week that more than three-fifths of House lawmakers were ready to return to Raleigh early, most likely between the March 15 primary and April 1, to act against the ordinance. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said Tuesday he has appointed a "working group" to draft legislation on the issue. He blames Attorney General Roy Cooper for not acting to overturn the law. Cooper has said state government has more pressing matters to deal with.

"Cooper has admitted state laws trump local ordinances, and he is the one person with the power to stop this nonsense and enforce our state’s criminal laws," Berger, R-Rockingham, said. "But if he refuses to do his job and protect the safety and privacy of our children, then the Senate stands ready to return to session and resolve this issue quickly."

That stance will be especially popular with Republicans and those voters who consider themselves "very conservative." Only 15 percent of Republican voters told the WRAL News poll that lawmakers should do nothing, and more than half who identify as "strong Republicans" said the General Assembly should act to override.

Bond appears on track to pass

Only 28 percent of those surveyed said they approve of the job that the General Assembly was doing overall. That is not an uncommon finding among recently conducted North Carolina polls, which have found the legislature to be an unpopular institution.

In this survey, 44 percent of those who said they were "strong Republicans" approve of the job the legislature was doing versus 39 disapproving. Among all other ideological categories, more respondents disapprove than approve of the GOP-controlled legislature.

The poll asked about several questions that have been issues lawmakers have dealt with over the last two years. For example, it found that 50 percent of adults surveyed believe the state should rely on an independent redistricting commission to redraw congressional and state legislative districts. Currently, state lawmakers draw the lines in which they and federal lawmakers run. And 66 percent of those surveyed said funding for public schools is currently inadequate.

Those surveyed were statistically deadlocked over changes to the state tax system that put sales tax on more items in favor of lowering the income tax rate. Although 41 percent said they opposed the shift versus 37 percent who said they approved, those numbers are not quite outside the margin of sampling error. One in five of those surveyed said they were unsure about the tax changes.

Meanwhile, voters appear to be likely to support the $2 billion bond question on the March 15 ballot, although with a week to go before the primary, 27 percent of voters said they haven't completely made up their mind. More than half of the bond will pay for new buildings in the University of North Carolina system, with another chunk going toward new construction for community college campuses. Money from the bond will also support state parks and National Guard armories.

"Taxes are just going to go higher and higher to maintain whatever they build with the bond," said Linda Chandler, who lives and works on a small farm in Harnett County. "I think we are being taxed to death. ... There are existing buildings there that are not being used that could be renovated."

Chandler is among the 18 percent of those surveyed who said they would oppose the bond on March 15. Voters who identified themselves as strongly conservative or strongly Republican were more likely to oppose the bond, while voters who either leaned Democratic or identified themselves as Democrats were most likely to say they would back the bond issue.

"We're taking nothing for granted," said Chris Sinclair, a Republican strategist hired by the pro-bond committee.

Despite the relatively strong showing in the poll, Sinclair said, the committee was continuing to advertise and wrangle voters through phone calls and other individual contact.

The GOP primary for president is ginning up high levels of turnout. Despite many of those Republican voters being less likely to support the bond, Sinclair said there was reason for optimism on his side.

"Are Republicans the only ones who are going to show up to vote?" Sinclair asked. "It's not a sure thing. This election never has been. But at the end of the day, it would be hard for the 'nos' to make up ground."

24 Comments

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  • Andy Jackson Mar 10, 2016
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    I would not be uncomfortable, but I would NOT let this happen if my child was in the restroom. Period.

  • Clif Bardwell Mar 10, 2016
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    Would you be ok if "Johnny 23" (Danny Trejo in Con Air) walked in to a woman's restroom claiming he identified as a woman?

  • Donald Holder Mar 9, 2016
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    So Andy, would you be comfortable if Kaitlyn Jenner walked into the men's room? Would your wife/mother be comfortable if Chas Bono walked into the ladies rooms?

  • Andy Jackson Mar 9, 2016
    user avatar

    I do believe, that there is an unwritten rule (aka common sense) that Men do not go into Women's restrooms, and vice versa. Those of us who use the restroom according to HOW we were born, have rights to our privacy. Transgenders made a "CHOICE" to change part or all of their body parts....and have NO right to infringe on the rest of us who use the restroom according to our gender of birth. So get over it, and spend your time and energy on something of higher importance.

  • Clif Bardwell Mar 9, 2016
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    Because I am uncomfortable with it. Plain and simple.

    So far, all I have gotten is that it's a matter of comfort.

    Now they may be uncomfortable with using the restroom meant for their biological "plumbing", but that raises the question as to why their rights outweigh mine.

  • Raleigh Rose Mar 9, 2016
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    Well Clif, you are certainly entitled to that opinion, but it is not backed up by any facts or historical evidence. I can think the sky will be pink with purple polka dots tomorrow, but that doesn't make it so. However, it's your opinion and you are entitled to it.

    You ask why someone can't use the one for the physical plumbing, well, I ask what's wrong with someone using the bathroom for the gender they identify with?

  • Clif Bardwell Mar 9, 2016
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    I stand corrected.

    Be that as it may, though, I still say the fact that it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean that it will never happen.

    Yet again, though, no one is addressing what the problem is with people using the restroom that their physical "plumbing" suggests is appropriate.

  • Clif Bardwell Mar 9, 2016
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    If the person standing next to me has the same "plumbing" I have, I'm ok no matter how much make-up or the length of skirt they may be wearing.

  • Raleigh Rose Mar 9, 2016
    user avatar

    Clif-I'm not wrong about Rhode Island. This took me like 2 seconds to find. It was passed in May 2001 and is Rhode Island General Law 11-24 covers full and equal accommodations, 11-24-2.1 (I) covers gender identity and 11-24-3 covers Public Places of Accommodation. Here's a link for you:

    http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/title11/11-24/INDEX.HTM

    I'm not wrong about the other states either.

  • Paul Hayeze Mar 9, 2016
    user avatar

    So Clif, you are perfectly comfortable with a male who looks like, (and I mean LOOKS like a women) acts like and dresses like a female, coming into the men's room at stand next to you?

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