Poll: Allow transgender Americans to serve in military

In this July 29, 2017 photo transgender U.S. army captain Jennifer Sims stands on a balcony after an interview with The Associated Press in Beratzhausen near Regensburg, Germany.

AP

President Trump vowed in a tweet last week to ban transgender people from serving in the military "in any capacity," but a new poll from Quinnipiac University shows such a policy would be opposed by a wide majority of Americans. Sixty-eight percent of respondents in the survey released Thursday said transgender people should be allowed to serve in the military, while 27 percent disagreed.

"Voters say, 'Let them serve,'" explained Tim Malloy, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a release accompanying the survey. "They put on uniforms and face the same risks as their brothers and sisters in arms for little reward other than protecting their country."

The latest CBS News/YouGov Nation Tracker poll, released last Sunday, contained similar findings: 61 percent said transgender people should be allowed to serve, while 39 percent disagreed.

The president's tweet spawned a series of questions from the estimated thousands of transgender people currently serving in the armed forces and from the military leaders who would be tasked with implementing such a policy change. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, said the armed forces would make no changes to personnel policies until the Pentagon received further implementation guidance from the president.

On the broader question of how accepting the U.S. is toward transgender people, only nine percent said the country is "very" accepting. Fifty-one percent said the U.S. is "somewhat" accepting, 27 percent said it's "not so" accepting, and 10 percent said it's not at all accepting.

The poll also asked whether greater acceptance of transgender people in the U.S. would be a good thing or a bad thing. Forty-six percent said greater acceptance would be a good thing, while 14 percent said it would be a bad thing. Thirty-nine percent said it wouldn't make much difference.

The Quinnipiac survey also quizzed voters on the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare that came up short last week in the Senate. By a margin of 64 to 25 percent, voters said they oppose the GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. By an even wider margin, 69 to 26 percent, voters said they oppose cuts to Medicaid – a key element of some GOP reform proposals. And on the general question of how Republicans are handling the issue, 80 percent registered disapproval, while only 15 percent said they approve.

"Nobody gets high marks on health care, but Republicans take a crushing blow," Malloy analyzed. "The message: Start over and do it right."

The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,125 voters nationwide between July 27 and August 1, and it has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.