A new poll by a libertarian think tank shows that a majority of Utah voters oppose gay rights laws that would fine or jail business owners or landlords based on their “discriminatory decisions” as property owners.
In an effort to bolster support for its proposed legislation, Equality Utah—a “gay rights” organization—points to a poll it conducted as evidence that the majority of Utahns agree with its proposal. The key claim in the poll is that “73% somewhat or strongly favor a statewide nondiscrimination law in employment.” The organization’s executive director commented, regarding this poll, that the claimed 73% support by Utahns “enhances our opportunity to achieve statewide passage for these important protections.”
The question asked was this: “Would you favor or oppose a statewide law (statewide nondiscrimination law) that makes it illegal for someone to be fired from a job solely because they are gay or transgender?” We theorize that many respondents did not understand the implications of this question, and therefore were more likely to express support. To test this theory, we decided to conduct a brief public opinion poll asking related questions with more context for the respondents regarding what the illegality of such discrimination might entail. In other words, when Utahns understand that business owners or landlords could be fined or jailed based on their discriminatory decisions as property owners, will they still support Equality Utah’s proposed legislation?