Tennesseans divided over therapist bill
Younger and newer residents more concerned about bill’s economic effect
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 23, 2016) — In light of the economic and legal implications of North Carolina’s bathroom bill, many states have been reviewing religious freedom legislation with tighter scrutiny. This is the case with the new Tennessee law that allows mental health counselors and therapists to refuse patients based on their religious beliefs, but requires them to refer the patient to another counselor.
According to a new icitizen poll, a narrow plurality (49%) of Tennessee voters favor this law, with 41% who oppose. People against the bill are more passionate, however, with 36% “strongly” opposing versus just 27% “strongly” favoring.
“That only about half of Tennesseans support a piece of religious freedom legislation suggests that people are mindful of the potential economic consequences,” said icitizen Head of Polling and Research Dr. Mark Keida. “Last month, we ran a poll on the ‘Bible Bill,’ and 67% of Tennesseans favored making the Bible the state book. There is quite a bit of drop off in support when it comes to this bill, and about half say they are ‘concerned’ with it.”’
Amongst those that were concerned about the possible economic consequences of this legislation are a new wave of Tennesseans, including 61% of millennials (18-34 year-olds) and 60% of state residents that have lived in Tennessee less than five years.
Support for the bill is deepest amongst self-identified conservative voters (71%), residents 55 years and older (57%), evangelicals (63%) and Republicans (66%). Opposition is notably strongest among liberals (71%), Democrats (62%), Tennesseans under 35 years (47%) and newer residents who have been living in the state less than five years (48%). Geographically, support for the bill is highest in Middle Tennessee (51%) and East Tennessee (52%), with only 42% of support in West Tennessee.
icitizen conducted a survey of 562 registered Tennessee voters, age 18 and older. The survey was conducted from May 12-16, 2016. Data were balanced by age, gender and region to reflect the composition of registered voters in Tennessee. The survey was conducted with an opt-in online sample. The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 4.1, and higher for subgroups. For more information on this poll and methodology, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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