Exit Poll: LGBTQ Voters, Allies Key to Joe Biden’s Victory

A new report from the Human Rights Campaign reveals that LGBTQ and equality voters played a major role in electing president Joe Biden.
Reuters/ Leah Millis

Findings from a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) report published December 22 show LGBTQ people and equality voters in swing states overwhelmingly supported President-Elect Joe Biden at the polls.

HRC and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic polling firm, conducted a survey of 1,400 voters from across the US — with an oversample of voters from Sun Belt states of Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. The results reveal that the LGBTQ community and equality voters — people who value LGBTQ issues at the polls — played a significant role in Biden’s victory, helping him secure 81 million votes.

According to the poll, 83 percent of LGBTQ voters supported Biden. That number more accurately reflected the historic patterns of queer voters in presidential elections, the survey notes, compared to a separate exit poll conducted by the Associated Press that found Biden only won 73 percent of LGBTQ voters.

“Over the last three elections, the share of LGBTQ voters and equality voters has continued to increase, solidifying our community and our allies as a key rising constituency that can make or break a politician’s success,” Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a written statement.

Notably, voters said the top reason they supported Biden was because they believed he would do a better job confronting the coronavirus pandemic. Forty-five percent of voters listed that reason, followed by 39 percent who said they voted for Biden because they believed he would stand up for immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ folks, and others targeted by Trump.

Biden voters also sought improvements in healthcare, protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and stronger leadership during the pandemic.

Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso DavidDonna Aceto

Studies indicate that the pandemic is deepening gaps in inequity. LGBTQ people — especially Black queer people — are facing the brunt of unemployment as well as losses in healthcare coverage, according to a report released December 16 from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), a non-profit policy think tank serving the queer community.

On the other hand, LGBTQ voters opposed former president Donald Trump because of his racist attacks, mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic, and lengthy anti-LGBTQ record.

The Trump administration has rolled out numerous anti-LGBTQ policies over the course of four years in office, including banning trans folks from the military, scrapping Obama-era guidance protecting trans students in schools, launching attacks on same-sex parents seeking to adopt, chipping away at LGBTQ health protections, and more.

The findings also highlight that protecting LGBTQ people as well as the passage of the Equality Act, a federal bill prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people in public life, remains a priority among many voters.

Support for these issues have steadily garnered more support since 2018, the report shows

According to the poll, 70 percent of people voting in the 2020 presidential election supported the Equality Act, with 53 percent strongly supporting the bill — a slight increase in two years. The number of people opposing the legislation is also decreasing. About 21 percent of voters are against the legislation, with 15 percent strongly opposing the bill.

Trump also worked together with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to stack federal courts with anti-equality judges.

Most recently, he moved ahead with a new rule — slated to take effect January 11 — that could make it more difficult for LGBTQ and HIV-positive asylum seekers to enter the US.

“This election truly was a referendum on Trump and Trump’s record on equality issues leads the list of problems voters had with this President,” the report noted.

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