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Fox News Poll: Majority favors ban on sex, gender discussions for young children in schools

Over half of registered voters would support a law that bans teachers from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation with students before fourth grade.

That’s according to the latest Fox News poll, released Wednesday.

Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the controversial “Parental Rights in Education” bill (referred to by detractors as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill) in late March, banning public school teachers from giving sexual orientation or gender identity instruction to students in kindergarten through third grade.

Nationally, 55% would support such a law in their state, while 41% oppose.

“Voters support the notion that these sorts of issues shouldn’t be part of school curriculum for younger students,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. “This attitude undoubtedly says more about the timing and source of these sensitive discussions than it does about general opinions towards transgender people.”

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Support for the measure includes majorities of Republicans (72% favor), Catholics (60%), Hispanic voters (60%), parents (58%), White voters (56%), rural Whites (55%), voters under age 35 (54%), and independents (52%).

More men (60% favor) than women (50%) favor the ban, as do more dads (68% favor) than moms (49%).

Overall, many voters are concerned about what’s taught in schools as well as the possibility of book banning by local school boards. However, these are not top-tier worries.  In a list of 14 concerns, these issues rank 7th and 12th, respectively.

The full ranking goes: future of the country and inflation (each 87% extremely or very concerned), future of American democracy (84%), political divisions within the country (81%), Ukraine (80%), higher crime rates (79%), what’s taught in schools (74%), gun laws (73%), opioid addiction (72%), illegal immigration (71%), abortion policy (69%), book banning (67%), climate change (57%) and coronavirus (55%).

Interviewing for the survey ended before the draft Supreme Court opinion on Roe v. Wade leaked.

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Unmasking Coronavirus

Voters increasingly believe coronavirus is under control (86% say at least somewhat under control, up from 59% at the height of Omicron in January) and are decreasingly concerned about it (55% concerned, down 17 points since January).

As a result, fewer see the need for mask mandates in schools and during travel.

Sixty-two percent say it’s time to remove masks in schools – up from 50% in February.  That 12-point shift is driven by parents (+20), Democrats (+19), Hispanic voters (+18), and Black voters (+16).

And even though some voters resist removing mask mandates for travel, more think it’s time to do so by 6 points (51% remove vs. 45% keep), a stark reversal since February when more wanted to keep masks on planes and trains by 19 points (39% vs. 58%).

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The change comes mainly from men, White voters, voters under age 35, parents, and urban voters now believing it’s time to unmask.

The coronavirus remains President Joe Biden’s only positive job approval rating by two percentage points.  He’s underwater on every other issue tested:  Ukraine (-6), climate change (-12), Russia (-16), guns (-23), the economy (-25), crime (-26), immigration (-29), and inflation (-39). 

Biden’s overall job rating stands at 45% approve vs. 53% disapprove.

Conducted April 28-May 1, 2022, under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,003 registered voters nationwide who were randomly selected from a national voter file and spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The total sample has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. 

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