LGBT Americans Oppose Arizona’s Immigration Policies

With Arizona’s controversial new state immigration law due to go into effect this July, a recent national survey reveals that a clear majority of 63 percent of LGBT individuals oppose these policies, with 45 percent expressing strong opposition.

In sharp contrast, and as in other national opinion polls, 6 out of 10 (60 percent) heterosexual adults who also have seen, read or heard about Arizona’s forthcoming statute say they support Arizona’s new immigration policies, with 41 percent saying they strongly support these changes. The national survey of 2,698 U.S. adults, (ages 18 and over), of whom 335 self identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender, was conducted online between May 10 and May 17, 2010, by Harris Interactive, a global market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the LGBT market.

These polarized opinions also appear to influence consideration for Arizona as a future travel destination. Among the LGBT respondents who have seen, heard or read about the new law, 43 percent say they would be less likely to travel to the state for leisure, and 36 percent said they would be less likely to travel there for convention gatherings. Thirty-two percent (32 percent) of LGBT adults also added that they would be less likely to travel to Arizona for other business purposes.

Heterosexuals, however, are less likely to feel this way. Less than one in four (23 percent) say they would be less likely to travel to Arizona for leisure, with 18 percent noting they would be less likely to travel there for a convention. Finally, 17 percent said they would likely avoid Arizona for other business travel.

Additionally, the relatively small percentages of heterosexuals who said they would be “more likely” to travel to Arizona because of the new immigration policy further underscores anxieties for Arizona’s business and hospitality interests in general; only 23 percent of heterosexuals express greater interest in traveling to the state for leisure, 15 percent say the same for convention purposes and 14 percent say so for business interests.

As Allison Powell, Research Director at Harris Interactive explains: “While the tourism business is starting to show a glimmer of recovery, the backlash from certain segments of the population, coupled with fears of group cancellations, does not bode well for Arizona’s economy. The question remains – will this backlash continue into and past the summer, or will immigration conflicts become less of a hot button as time passes?”

Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications highlights the differences seen between heterosexual and LGBT respondents. He explains: “it’s not surprising that many LGBT individuals are opposed to many forms of statutory discrimination. As citizens and consumers, LGBT behaviors mirror these attitudes – tending to favor and choose destinations, products and services, as well as making political choices that support equal and respectful treatment for all.”

In addition to the wide gaps identified among Americans according to their sexual orientation and gender identity, the new findings also mirror partisan affiliation distinctions as well.

Individuals who identify as Democrats by affiliation, for instance, oppose the Arizona immigration policies too by similar marks – with 59 percent expressing opposition and just 33 percent expressing support.

This contrasts sharply with Republican views which show over 8 out of 10 (83 percent) support the Arizona law, with just 11 percent opposing it. Most independents also support the Arizona policy by 69 percent to 26 percent.

The new survey also provides further evidence that LGBT adults disproportionately align with the Democratic Party by interest or affiliation – with 51 percent of LGBT adults reporting currently that they are Democrats, while 28 percent disclose they are Independent and only 5 percent say they are aligned with the Republican Party.

To see the data tables, please visit: www.witeckcombs.com

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