Affect toward Transgender People, Political Awareness, and Support for Transgender Rights


As with public opinion on other policy issues, attitudes toward transgender rights are partly driven by “group-centric” reasoning. Those with more positive feelings toward transgender people are more likely to support policies that protect their rights. But linking group affect with policies impacting members of that group requires some knowledge and understanding of politics, which not all citizens possess to the same extent. In this research note, we demonstrate that political awareness moderates the relationship between affect toward transgender people and support for their civil rights. ANES data from 2016 and 2020 show that more politically sophisticated respondents were more likely to connect their views of transgender people with policies that protect their rights. These results suggest that group-centric thinking is most prevalent among the most, not least, politically aware.

American Politics Research
Philip Edward Jones
Philip Edward Jones
Associate Professor of Political Science