Memo to Senate Republicans: Your constituents want you to vote for ENDA

Monday evening, the Senate is scheduled to vote on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), which would make it illegal to discriminate in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. …

Nearly all recent opinion polls indicate that a large majority of the American public — more than 70 percent — supports efforts to make employment discrimination against gay men and and lesbians illegal. …

Despite such high levels of public support, we do not expect ENDA to pass the Senate overwhelmingly (though it will probably pass). Our research [“Gay Rights in Congress: Public Opinion and (Mis)Representation,” by Katherine Krimmel, Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips] finds that constituent support for gay rights does not easily translate into votes for gay rights legislation in Congress, especially among Republican lawmakers. Historically, for male Republicans, constituent support for LGBT rights needs to reach 66 percent before the lawmaker even has a 50 percent probability of casting a pro-gay vote. While the level of public support needed to generate a pro-gay vote among Republican women is somewhat smaller (58 percent), men constitute nearly 90 percent of the Republican Senate caucus. CONT.

Jeff Lax (Columbia) & Justin Phillips (Columbia), Washington Post