Washington

Slim Majorities of Voters Support Core Provisions of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

51% back a ban on teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade

People protest in front of Republican Florida state Sen. Ileana Garcia's office on March 9 after the passage of the Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill by LGBTQ activists. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A slim majority of voters support key provisions of Florida state legislation that’s been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics, but they are divided over whether parents should be able to sue schools over discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico survey.

Views on ‘Don’t Say Gay’
  • Just over half of voters support provisions of the Florida bill that would limit lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity after third grade to “age appropriate” discussions (52 percent) and ban the teaching of both topics from kindergarten through third grade (51 percent).
  • The survey wording laid out arguments made by the bill’s supporters that limiting these discussions would protect children from inappropriate classroom topics as well as the opponents’ views that it would block important conversations about LGBTQ issues. Democrats are far less likely to oppose the two limits than Republicans are to support them, signaling division on this particular cultural issue for voters on the left. 
  • Fewer voters (40 percent) support allowing parents to sue school districts over alleged violations of sexual orientation and gender identity discussions in schools, and 44 percent oppose the policy.
The context

The Florida Legislature’s passage of the bill marked another step in the Republican-led efforts to rev up the culture wars for the hearts and votes of parents, leveraging coronavirus-era frustrations in the country’s public schools as a wedge against a general acceptance of LGBTQ Americans. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential contender for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination, is expected to sign the measure – just as he’s expected to sign other legislation he’s dubbed the “Stop W.O.K.E. Act,” which seeks to regulate teaching about race and is more divisive among the national electorate.

Views on the ‘Stop W.O.K.E. Act’
  • Voters are almost evenly divided when asked about the teaching of critical race theory in school: 40 percent said they support a ban, while 42 percent oppose it.
  • Voters are slightly more resistant to stopping businesses from requiring employees to participate in sensitivity and racial awareness training, with 37 percent favoring a ban and 45 percent opposing one.
  • Similarly to the question about the bill that would limit teaching about LGBT issues, the survey told voters that proponents say that limiting discussions about race will keep teachers and employers objective, while opponents say doing so will “whitewash” history, especially regarding Black people.
  • Just over a third of voters (36 percent) would allow parents to sue school districts over alleged violations of critical race theory being taught in schools, slightly less than the share who support litigation regarding alleged violations of sexual orientation and gender identity discussions in schools. This provision was not included in the final bill.

The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted March 11-14, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,005 registered U.S. voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Morning Consult