According to the findings of a survey of more than 40,000 Americans released today, there was a 10 percent drop in support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights for respondents under the age of 30 who identified themselves a Republicans.
The New York Times reported that the survey, which was conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, showed support for LGBTQ rights had increased or remained steady among Mormons, Muslims, political independents, southerners, seniors, and a number of other demographic groups in the United States since 2015.
Young Republicans were the only demographic to show a decline, falling from 75 percent in favor in 2015 to 63 percent in 2018.
Robert P. Jones is the chief executive of the institute, which is a Washington-based nonpartisan nonprofit organization. He offered one hypothesis for the drop, saying that the ranks of young Republicans may be thinning with more socially liberal individuals opting to identify as independent.
“The Republican Party is becoming more ideologically pure,” he told The Times.
It will take more research to further understand the data, and pollsters and statisticians have yet to discover any recent significant shifts of young Republicans moving toward identifying themselves as independents, according to the Washington Post.
Support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights has dropped among young Republicans, a survey found https://t.co/MmgDuY4VD8
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 26, 2019
However, the Republican party has consistently leaned against supporting LGBTQ rights, most recently with their continued push to ban transgender persons from joining or, in some circumstances, remaining in the military.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court reinstated the ban with a 5-4 vote along party lines, overriding injunctions brought by lower courts that had blocked the policy, according to NPR.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is one the most highest-ranking and vocal opponents of gay marriage. After the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalized gay marriage, he issued a statement that he would continue his efforts to “to honor and protect the traditional definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman,” according to NBC.
North Carolina Republican’s “bathroom bill” was heavily criticized by the LGBTQ for allegedly discriminating against transgender people. The bill drew national attention, with major corporations, recording artists, and the ACC threatening to boycott the state if the bill was not repealed, which it was in 2017.
It is nothing new for conservatives to defend traditional marriage and question the legitimacy of those who identify themselves as transgender.
But with more than twice as many adults age 19 to 37 identifying as LGBTQ, which is more than twice as many as any previous generation, according to a recent Gallup poll, it appears the culture is heading the other way.
Does the shift in young republican support for LGBTQ rights show a shift in their beliefs or a shift in how they identify themselves politically?
The answer may affect the political and cultural landscape for years to come.