In a rally outside of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center over 60 opponents of Charlotte's expanded nondiscrimination ordinance Friday, March 18, 2016, implored Gov. Pat McCrory and the General Assembly to call a special session to repeal all or part of new legal protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. T. Ortega Gaines ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
In a rally outside of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center over 60 opponents of Charlotte's expanded nondiscrimination ordinance Friday, March 18, 2016, implored Gov. Pat McCrory and the General Assembly to call a special session to repeal all or part of new legal protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. T. Ortega Gaines ogaines@charlotteobserver.com

Politics & Government

Poll: 51 percent support legislature overturning Charlotte bathroom provision

April 04, 2016 07:05 PM

UPDATED April 05, 2016 06:36 AM

The first opinion poll on North Carolina’s new LGBT law was released Monday and found that the majority of voters across the state support House Bill 2’s bathroom provisions.

A TWC News North Carolina Poll conducted by SurveyUSA asked 540 registered voters about various aspects of the law, which replaces local ordinances with a statewide nondiscrimination law that doesn’t include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories.

The poll question explained that “a new state law in North Carolina bans local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules, and overturns the Charlotte ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity.”

Asked whether “overturning the Charlotte ordinance” was a good idea, 51 percent said it was a positive step, while 40 percent said it was a bad idea. And 51 percent also said that transgender people should not be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

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But the poll found less support for legislative leaders’ refusal to list sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories in the new statewide nondiscrimination law: 53 percent said those categories should be included, while 34 percent said they shouldn’t.

“What we’ve got here is a wonderful example of a population that’s wrestling with a tough issue,” said SurveyUSA founder Jay Leve.

And while the bathroom provision drew support, many said the uproar over House Bill 2 will hurt North Carolina.

About 46 percent said the law will have a negative effect on the state’s image, while 23 percent said it will have a positive effect, and 26 percent said it won’t make a difference.

About 45 percent said it will have a negative effect on business recruitment, while 21 percent said it will have a positive effect, and 29 percent said it won’t make a difference.

And while much of the uproar over the law has been directed at Gov. Pat McCrory, it doesn’t appear to have changed his approval rating much: 44 percent said they approve of McCrory’s performance, up 2 percentage points from a TWC News poll in February.

That’s in part because opinions of House Bill 2 are split largely along party lines: 72 percent of Republicans said they supported overturning Charlotte’s ordinance, while only 30 percent of Democrats thought it was a good idea.

The poll didn’t ask voters about some of the lesser-known provisions of the law, including a section that makes it difficult to sue for workplace discrimination in state courts.

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter