Wednesday, June 26, 2019

New Developments in the Right To Discriminate

A new survey measures people's attitudes towards businesses discriminating against various types of customers -- gays and lesbians, transgender individuals, atheists Muslims, Jews, and African-Americans. There are some really interesting takeaways.

  • Republicans are -- across the board -- more likely to favor permitting discrimination than Democrats or Independents. This is true across all customer-identities.
  • However, Republicans also exhibit considerably more variance across different groups -- tolerating discrimination against certain sorts far more than others. At the top end, circa 45% favor permitting discrimination against gay, lesbian, and trans individuals. At the bottom, only 18% favor it when it comes to African-Americans. Meanwhile, Democrats never stray out of a tight 14% - 19% band for any group -- suggesting a cadre that (perhaps for some libertarian freedom-of-contract reason) supports the "right to discriminate" on principle.
  • Given the recent high-profile controversies about businesses serving gay customers and the extent to which GOP politicians have sought to make it into a culture war front (ex: Indiana, Masterpiece Cakeshop), I wonder if the commitment to the right to discriminate against LGBT individuals is having the effect of "dragging up" GOP support for a similar right as against other groups -- people believing that if they don't support a "right to discriminate" against Jews, then there can't be a right to discriminate against gays either. This hypothesis, however, clashes with the willingness of many Republicans (noted above) to just happily accept the double-standard.
  • That said, again given the degree to which the GOP has sought to put the right to discriminate against LGBT customers into the news, I'm actually shocked that the figures here are so low. Again, we're talking (slightly) less than half of Republican voters, and less than a third of Americans total. There's actually a pretty strong bipartisan consensus against the position GOP politicians have been staking out.
  • In the religion-bowl, Atheists are disliked more than Muslims are disliked more than Jews. The difference is very stark among Republicans (37% support a "right to discriminate" against Atheists, 32% against Muslims, 24% against Jews) but much narrower among the population writ large (24/22/19, respectively).

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