Morning Buzz | Early Voting, Snapchat, and Transgender Christians

Snapchat Registers Over 400,000 Voters Across the Nation
In an electoral climate where younger voters tend to be less engaged, the social media service Snapchat was able to pull off the unexpected. A new report in The New York Times shows that Snapchat has registered over 400,000 voters ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, with 79,148 registered in Texas, 29,044 in Florida, 22,649 in Georgia, and 17,994 in Ohio. Snapchat accomplished this feat by putting a small button on users’ profiles that directed them to a nonpartisan voter registration site. Users were also encouraged to post with a filter indicating they had registered. “There is no more powerful form of self-expression than the ability to vote,” said Jennifer Stout, global head of public policy at Snap, the company behind Snapchat, tells The Times. “The numbers we’ve seen have been fantastic and have shown us that our users have been some of the most engaged communities out there.” A recent PRRI/The Atlantic poll shows that only 35 percent of young people (age 18-29) definitely plan on voting in the upcoming elections, compared to 81 percent of seniors (age 65 and older).
HuffPost: Transgender Christian Leaders Need to be Heard
In a recent article for HuffPost, several LGBTQ Christian leaders responded to reports that the Trump administration is planning to dramatically narrow the legal definition of gender to functionally exclude transgender and nonbinary people. Austin Hartke, an LGBTQ+ educator, says he wants to remind conservative evangelicals that there are – and always have been – transgender and nonbinary people within faith communities. Hartke says, “Gender-diverse people have existed throughout time and on every continent, and we’re part of your church families as well.” A 2016 PRRI survey found that 50 percent of Americans believe that evangelical Christian churches are unfriendly for LGBT people.
Early Voting off to Rocky Start for Some in Georgia
With the November midterm elections less than two weeks away, more and more Americans are choosing to vote early. According to the NAACP in Georgia, however, early voting has been difficult for some black voters, with reports of voting machine touchscreen malfunctions and vote-switching coming from all over the state. Khyla D. Craine, the NAACP’s assistant general counsel, explains to The Root, “We’ve seen issues across the state of Georgia, and not just the Atlanta Metroplex. We’ve seen this in central Georgia and have seen issues in southeastern Georgia, near Savannah.” The Georgia governor’s race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp has sparked a high-profile debate about voting access. Kemp is alleged to have wrongly purged as many as 300,000 voters from the Georgia voter registry, many of them African American and Hispanic. According to a new PRRI/The Atlantic survey, black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than whites to say that removing eligible voters from voter registration lists is a major problem in our election system (74 percent, 60 percent, and 52 percent, respectively).
New York Times Columnist Asks if President Trump Has “Gay Amnesia”
Columnist Frank Bruni, writing in The New York Times, reflects on President Donald Trump’s speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention, pondering whether he has “gay amnesia.” According to Bruni, Trump has not fulfilled the promises he made to the LGBTQ community on the campaign trail. “I will do everything in my power to protect our L.G.B.T.Q. citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” Trump said at the 2016 convention. “One takeaway is that those remarks were classic campaign-trail drivel, neither deeply felt nor remotely prophetic,” Bruni writes. “Another is that Trump hadn’t yet committed firmly to a low-road approach of pleasing hard-core fans on the far right at the possible expense of less durable supporters in the middle. But another is that his words at the convention — re-examine them closely — weren’t about L.G.B.T. people, whom he didn’t promise to protect, period.” Bruni suggests that Trump may have been specifically promising to protect LGBTQ people from “radical Islamic” terrorism. Recent PRRI data indicates that Republicans (29 percent) are less likely than the general public (55 percent) to say that gay and lesbian people face a lot of discrimination in America.
Join PRRI at the Brookings Institution to Discuss Our Latest Survey
On Monday, October 29, 2018, PRRI CEO and founder Dr. Robert P. Jones will present the findings from our latest survey, “Partisan Polarization Dominates Trump Era: Findings From the 2018 American Values Survey,” at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. The annual survey focuses on some of the most important issues for Americans during the upcoming election season and beyond, including new numbers on party polarization, police brutality, immigration, and the #MeToo movement, among others. A panel of experts, including PRRI Public Fellow Dr. Janelle Wong, Asma Khalid of NPR, Dr. E.J. Dionne Jr. and Dr. William A. Galston of the Brookings Institution, and Karlyn Bowman of AEI will be on hand to discuss the findings. The event will begin at 2:00PM and conclude at 4:00PM.
Pelosi: The Equality Act Would be Top Democratic Priority
In a recent speech at Harvard University, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated that passing The Equality Act will be a top priority for Democrats if they regain control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. The bill would creating new legal protections for LGBTQ people by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights of 1964, which currently bans discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Tim Fitzsimmons writes, “A 2015 survey of 42,000 people across the U.S. conducted by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found 70 percent of Americans — including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents — would support a bill, like the Equality Act, that would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in jobs, housing and public accommodations.” Roughly the same number of people indicated they would support a similar bill this year.
Dr. Stella Rouse Explains Why Congressional Approval Ratings Are Low
Dr. Stella Rouse, a PRRI Public Fellow and director of the Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland, where she is also an associate professor of government and politics, was recently quoted throughout a piece in The Virginian Pilotabout congressional approval ratings. Rouse was responding to a recent survey that found Americans have an overwhelmingly negative view of Congress: According to an Economist/YouGov poll released Wednesday, just 14 percent of American approve of the job Congress is doing. “Nothing gets done,” Rouse says. “People have a pretty strong perception that that is the case — that Congress is do-nothing over the past several years.” Though party leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have higher approval ratings at 58 and 60 percent, these numbers are still not great, according to Rouse. “Because party leaders can’t get a lot done right now, those numbers are lower than they are historically,” she explains.