Tuesday 15 March 2022

Poll finds strong bipartisan support for Florida parental rights bill among those told what it actually says

 A proposal to keep sex and gender ideology out of lower grade school levels in Florida has strong support among most Americans, according to a new Daily Wire poll.

The cornerstone language of Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" bill, HB 1557, is supported by nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults who were told what the bill says, though many survey respondents appear to hold misconceptions about the legislation. Democrats and LGBT activists have inaccurately called it the "Don't Say Gay" bill in an attempt to smear the proposal and its supporters, claiming it is "hateful" and will "harm" children by banning classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity up to a certain grade-level.

Many news reports have adopted the "Don't Say Gay" label as shorthand for the bill and have glossed over how it will apply to only "kindergarten through third grade." The survey found false beliefs about the bill appear to be common, including that 39% of U.S. adults — and 45% of Democrats — believe the Florida bill bans the word "gay" (it doesn't) and that 22% believe the bill forces schools to "out" LGBT students (also not true). Another 17% inaccurately believe the legislation would prohibit Florida students from saying they have a gay parent or relative. 

To get a more accurate read on public opinion about the actual Parental Rights bill instead of the straw man built by its opponents, the Daily Wire's researchers quoted directly from the legislation with the following statement:

Below is a passage from a new state education law. Please indicate whether you support or oppose it. "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through third grade or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."

Results showed that more than six in 10 Americans (64%) support banning classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, or at any grade level where such discussions are not presented in a manner that is age or developmentally appropriate. Only 21% said they oppose the bill.

Framed this way, the bill has strong bipartisan support, with 69% of Republicans in favor, 62% of Democrats, and 57% of self-identified independents as well. There was not a significant difference in support among whites (63%), blacks (66%), and Latinos (62%) or by age.

Further, majorities said it was "inappropriate" for teachers to instruct students in kindergarten through third grade on various sexual orientations (65%) and "inappropriate" to discuss "gender identities, such as transgenderism" (66%).

More than half of survey respondents (52%) said they support provisions in the Parental Rights bill allowing parents to take schools to court if they believe their children have been taught material related to these topics in a way they believe is inappropriate.

Additionally, 68% of parents said they support the Florida bill's classroom instruction regulations.

“Most Floridians, no matter their orientation, agree that instruction on sexuality and gender theory is inappropriate in grades K-3,” a spokeswoman for Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement to the Daily Wire. DeSantis supports HB 1557 and has challenged news reporters who've inaccurately described the legislation as the "Don't Say Gay" bill.

The poll was conducted March 12-13 by the market research technology platform Lucid. It had a sample size of 1,000 people that was 37% Democrat, 32% Republican, and 31% independent, with a margin of error of 5% and a confidence level of 95%.

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