Tag Archives: surveys

Trump team rolling back data collection on older LGBT adults

Hardly two months into the Trump administration — and only one month after Congress confirmed notoriously anti-LGBT Tom Price as health secretary  — the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has eliminated questions about LGBT people from two critical surveys.

The administration is already rolling back data collection on LGBT people who receive certain federal programs, making it impossible to assess whether key programs for seniors and people with disabilities are meeting the needs of LGBT Americans.

Putting LGBT older adults at risk

The National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants is an annual, national survey of people who receive select services funded under the Older Americans Act, or OAA, the primary vehicle for delivering social support and nutrition programs to older adults in our country.

These essential programs include home delivered meals, congregant meals, transportation, caregiver support, and senior centers. The survey obtains performance outcome information, identifies service gaps, and supports program improvements. Policymakers and advocates rely on data to ensure OAA programs are meeting their goals without leaving anyone out.

The National Survey started collecting data on LGBT program recipients in 2014, and continued to do so in both 2015 and 2016 (available on file with CAP).

HHS’ proposed 2017 protocol, publicly announced on March 13, omits the survey’s only question about sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite the fact that LGBT people have been erased from the survey, the notice announcing the proposed survey alleges that “no changes” were made to the survey.

LGBT older adults face acute levels of economic insecurity, social isolation, and discrimination — including difficulty accessing critical aging services and supports. Data on LGBT program recipients would help HHS ensure its programs are meeting the need of LGBT seniors.

By rolling back data collection on LGBT people, HHS is giving up the tools it needs to ensure its effectively and equitably reaching all elders, including LGBT elders.

Ending data collection on LGBT people with disabilities

The Trump administration is also targeting LGBT individuals with disabilities, removing questions on LGBT identities from the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living.

A proposed redesign of the performance report was issued in January 2017 and did include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity; however, a revised version, issued in March 2017, omits these questions.

The Annual Report helps HHS evaluate the effectiveness and equity of programs designed to serve people with disabilities and ensure they can live independently in their homes and communities.

Available research suggests that LGBT people, especially LGBT older adults, face significant barriers to accessibility services. For this reason, it is particularly concerning that HHS is abdicating its responsibility to ensure the programs it funds equitably serve LGBT people with disabilities.

Why data matters

Data on LGBT program recipients could reveal disparities in how these HHS programs—which provide a critical safety net for to seniors and people with disabilities—serve LGBT people, potentially indicating discrimination or other barriers to access in the programs.

By rolling back data collection, the Department of Health and Human Services is throwing away the tools to ensure the department reaches vulnerable LGBT people in programs ranging from home delivered meals and senior center group meals, to transportation, caregiver support, and health promotion services.

Federal data collection on LGBT people is already scarce, but rolling back collection on crucial safety net programs is particularly disturbing. LGBT people experience overt and systematic discrimination across all areas of life—from education to housing, healthcare, employment, and the public square.

As a result, LGBT people face acute levels of income insecurity, making it particularly important that federal safety net programs meet the needs of the LGBT community.

By removing this data, the Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Price risk erasing the experiences LGBT seniors and people with disabilities and making it impossible for HHS to identify and end disparities and discrimination in taxpayer-funded programs.

Sejal Singh is the Campaigns and Communications Manager for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at American Progress. Laura E. Durso is the Vice President of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at American Progress. Aaron Tax is the director of federal government relations for Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders.

Related resources

By the numbers: Before the votes, the polls

More ads. More speeches. More press statements. More fundraising pleas. More PAC involvement. And some high-profile pitches followed the news that the Marquette University Law School Poll in early October showed Scott Walker and Mary Burke tied at 47-47 percent among likely voters in the Wisconsin governor’s race.

That tie between Walker and Burke has disappeared in the two weeks between Marquette polls. In the poll released Oct. 29, which surveyed 1,409 registered voters, 1,164 of whom said they were likely to vote, Walker is favored by 50 percent of likely voters, while Burke is down to 43 percent. Poll director Charles Franklin attributes the change to shifting turnout intentions. Effectively, he said at a poll release event, more Walker supporters say they will vote than Burke supporters.  

What else were polls showing in the weeks ahead of the high-stakes Nov. 4 election?

• The gender gap in the governor’s race, shrinking in the last poll, is back. Among likely male voters, Walker is favored 58-36 percent, and among likely female voters, Burke is favored 49-43 percent. In the six Marquette Polls since July, Walker has averaged 55-40 percent among men and Burke has averaged 52-42 percent among women. At one time, Walker had a 28-point advantage among men and Burke had an 18-point edge with women.

• Burke’s favorability rating has declined in recent weeks, dropping from a 44 percent tie to 39 percent favorable and 49 percent unfavorable among likely voters in the most recent poll. Walker’s current favorability rating among likely voters is 51 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable, a ratio that has remained consistent throughout the race.

• About 49 percent of likely voters agree that Walker cares about people like them; 47 percent say that about Burke.

• About 43 percent say Burke is “able to get things done” and 65 percent say that about Walker.

• That increase in Walker’s numbers in the Marquette Law Poll is faintly reflected in the responses given to questions about Wisconsin’s future. Among likely voters, 54 percent say Wisconsin is headed in the right direction, versus 42 percent who say it is on the wrong track.

• Walker and Burke supporters are split on almost every issue, and the biggest one is, unsurprisingly, the issue of Act 10 and collective bargaining. Just 9 percent of Walker supporters would restore collective bargaining, in comparison to 79 percent of Burke supporters, according to the latest Marquette Poll.

• On the other hand, Wisconsinites don’t disagree on everything. The latest Marquette poll found that a majority of both Walker and Burke supporters favor criminal penalties for first offense OWI (52 from Walker and 62 from Burke). Numbers are also close when it comes to the proposed Kenosha casino. 39 percent of Burke supporters and 44 percent of Walker supporters are in favor of the casino, while 37 percent of Burke supporters and 36 percent of Walker supporters oppose it.

Other polls reveal what’s going on outside the governor’s race:

• A new survey from the Pew Research Center found notable differences between where liberals and conservatives find their news. Conservatives reported that they find their news from a single source, 47 percent of them saying that source is Fox News. “Consistent liberals” list a wider range of news outlets as main sources.

• A recent Gallup poll found the economy is the top concern in America as midterms approach, followed sequentially by dissatisfaction with government, unemployment and jobs, health care, and immigration. The Ebola virus made its first appearance on the monthly poll, though, a concern among 5 percent of surveyed Americans.

• Polls show less enthusiasm for discussing 2016 presidential politics. That’s probably because the clear favorite among Democrats, Hillary Rodham Clinton, hasn’t announced her intention to run, and because no Republican yet has broken from the pack. Mitt Romney, who lost in 2012, is not jockeying for the nomination.

• In a Post-ABC poll, had the support of 21 percent of Republicans or Republican-leaning independents for the presidency. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was No. 2 with 11 percent. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan was in the group polling 8-6 percent. Scott Walker was at the bottom of the list, with 1 percent.

• In Marquette’s Oct. 15 poll, 25 percent of likely voters in Wisconsin would like to see Walker run for president in 2016; 40 percent would like to see Ryan run.

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Add it up: President Obama says ‘gay’ 272 times in 5 years

President Barack Obama’s unprecedented use of “lesbian,” “gay,” “bisexual” and “transgender” in his public statements is “contributing immensely to the political mainstreaming of LGBT people and marriage equality within American society,” according to a new report from the Human Rights Campaign.

HRC is the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group.

It’s report, released this week, also examines the public statements of former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

The researchers found that Obama has used the word “gay” more than any of his predecessors — 272 times in five years. The report shows that during Obama’s time in office, support for marriage equality has exploded, from 40 percent in 2008 to 53 percent in 2013.

“Words matter an enormous amount, and when President Obama uses his platform to declare that LGBT people are just as American as anyone else, it has a huge and historic effect. President Obama has helped the American people get to know LGBT people on a personal level, and evidence suggests that when people know us, they don’t want to discriminate against us,” stated HRC president Chad Griffin. “President Obama has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of LGBT people, and the power of his rhetoric has been an essential part of that legacy.”

HRC reported that:

• Throughout his time in the White House, Obama has said the word “gay” in a public speech, statement or proclamation at least 272 times.

• Obama has used the word “transgender” at least 33 times in speeches, statements and proclamations. He’s used the word “bisexual” at least 28 times, and “lesbian” at least 88 times.

• On the 2012 campaign trail, Obama used the word “gay” 62 times at rallies and fundraisers.

• On the 2012 campaign trail, Mitt Romney spoke about marriage equality only once, and it was in the context of excluding loving, committed same-sex couples from marriage.

• In his two terms in the White House, Clinton used the word “gay” 216 times in public speeches, statements or proclamations, of which 46 instances were regarding gays in the military and 80 instances were regarding Matthew Shepard or hate crime legislation.

• Obama has consistently emphasized that rights and the pursuit of success should not be denied to anyone based on whom they love.

• Since Obama has been in office, the percentage of Americans who support marriage equality has risen from 40 percent in 2008 to 53 percent in 2013, according to Gallup polling.

• Following Obama’s 2012 endorsement of same-sex marriage, the number of African-Americans who supported marriage equality skyrocketed to 59 percent, up from an average of 41 percent, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

• The rising tide of public support for marriage equality has been reflected in opinion shifts by prominent GOP lawmakers as well. Republican Sens. Rob Portman, Mark Kirk and Lisa Murkowski have all endorsed marriage equality. And in February 2013, more than 150 Republicans signed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit striking down Proposition 8.

“When an elected official uses his or her platform to send a message of dignity and respect, Americans respond,” Griffin stated. “We hope that the growing momentum for equality will ensure future presidents – regardless of their party affiliation – continue this trend.”

On the Web…

www.hrc.org/ObamaReport