Half of millennials in a new poll say a candidate’s sexual orientation or gender identity “doesn’t matter” when choosing who to vote for.
In a survey conducted by BuzzFeed News and Maru/Blue, a slim majority of respondents (51 percent) between the ages of 22 and 37 claim they don’t care if a candidate is queer or transgender. Women (65 percent) were nearly twice as likely as men (37 percent) to say they have no preference between LGBTQ candidates and heterosexual ones.
Unsurprisingly, Republican millennials were the least likely of the group to shrug off a candidate’s LGBTQ identity. Just 29 percent said those facts were unimportant to them, as opposed to 52 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of Independents.
Just 42 percent of millennial respondents overall claimed they would prefer to vote for a heterosexual person rather than a queer one (although the survey doesn’t state if cisgender candidates are also included in that tally). Republicans once again had the highest preference for straight politicians: Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of conservative millennials would rather cast their ballot for someone heterosexual.
The remainder of the findings on this question remain strikingly similar to previous figures. Just 39 percent of Democrats and 27 percent expressed a desire to see straight people in office. And yet again, men (53 percent) were significantly more likely than women (31 percent) to say they would prefer not to vote for a queer person.
On the flipside, the percentage of respondents who preferred LGBTQ candidates to straight ones were low across the board.
The question of whether marriage equality and transgender rights qualify as human rights also sharply divided millennials by political party and gender. While 51 percent of millennials claimed the freedom to marry is a civil right, Democrats (57 percent) and Independents (58 percent) were nearly twice as likely as Republicans (34 percent) to agree with that statement.
Meanwhile, 60 percent of women and 42 percent of men said marriage equality is a human right.
Acceptance of trans equality was somewhat lower across the board. As in nearly every previous data set, Republicans (26 percent) were half as likely as Democrats (52 percent) and Independents (50 percent) to support transgender rights as a human right.
A slim majority of women (55 percent) and decisive minority of men (34 percent) said trans rights are human rights.
BuzzFeed and the online market research firm Maru/Blue polled more than 1,000 millennials between the dates of Sept. 21 and Sept. 24. Eleven percent of respondents identified as LGBTQ, with bisexuals making up the largest share at five percent.
Of political parties, Independents (15 percent) were the most likely to say they are either queer or bisexual. Just four percent of Republican respondents identified as LGBTQ.
The findings were released on Thursday, exactly 32 days before the 2018 midterms. As INTO has previously reported at length, a historic number of queer and transgender candidates are competing for public office in the November general elections.