Two national polls producing headlines in recent days startled many. The data, indicating a huge drop in LGBT affinity among non-gay Americans under 35 and scant support nationwide for D.C. statehood, should not surprise.
The reasons, however, are distinctly divergent.
Released this week, a first-ever national Gallup survey asking whether D.C. should become a state indicated that the city’s quixotic quest is opposed by nearly two-thirds of the country. Americans oppose statehood for the District by a margin of 64 percent to only 29 percent in favor. These results track with prior polls conducted over past decades, all showing weak support for a notion that isn’t growing.
Majorities of Democrats, Republicans, independents, liberals, moderates, and conservatives all reject the proposal. Much more than half of every demographic category – whether sliced-and-diced in major subgroups by gender, race, age, education, or political ideology – say no.
Only 38 percent of residents in the northeast portion of the country stretching as far south as the District itself, arguably most familiar with the idea, back statehood. The rest of the nation weighs it at only one-quarter endorsing.
In fact, support for D.C. statehood has actually declined in recent years, despite a renewed effort by advocates to promote the idea across the country and now funded with city tax dollars. A Yankelovich national poll conducted in 1992 found that a smaller 57 percent opposed statehood, similar to a 1989 Washington Post poll showing only 52 percent opposed.
For residents among the super-majority of locals hoping for statehood, the startling level of opposition elsewhere proved disheartening. Yet, truth be told, it is those who’ve lived here a while who often are the most circumspect about the deepening failure of advocacy groups and dim prospects to advance statehood.
Only the most sanguine remain confident that a decades-long aspiration to add another star to the national flag is achievable. All good arguments aside, the issue is now bluntly viewed through the starkly partisan lens of a highly polarized era and almost certain addition of two Democratic U.S. Senators and single House seat. Hate it or not, hope isn’t high that the city will become a state.
Troubling for the LGBT community was GLAAD’s fifth annual “Accelerating Acceptance” national survey conducted by marketing research firm The Harris Poll. Released late last month only days ahead of the Stonewall 50th anniversary and WorldPride events in New York City, the notable finding was a substantial drop in Millennial and Gen-Z affinity as “allies” of the LGBT community.
This dual cohort, combined among those aged 18-34, demonstrated a whopping 18-point decline in LGBT “strong” alliance in the past two annual measures. Most startling among this youthful age group were both the 27-point drop among men during those two years, falling from 62 percent to a mere 35 percent, and the 12-point downward shift among women in only the past single year, plummeting from 64 percent to 52 percent.
While small shifts within the attitudinal margin of error for this annual survey have previously been over-hyped by GLAAD to the group’s increasingly diminished credibility, this select and significant finding is, in fact, worrisome.
The problem is that GLAAD lazily attributes this specific highest-category affinity reversal to causational claims that miss the mark. Blaming this dramatic shrinkage solely on a harsher political environment simply doesn’t cut it – especially for the age group historically most supportive of LGBT equality and in light of an overall 80 percent in general support for full equality among all straight Americans of all ages.
There is clearly a reason for the sudden hefty dwindling in LGBT affinity among younger Americans. It might just be because we’re becoming a bunch of bullies ourselves, increasingly led by a radical bossy-queer far-left fringe from which the youngest adults are revolting in reaction. Whatever the real and actual cause, we’d better figure it out. Soon.