Poll: Americans split over transgender bathroom debate

Americans are divided on the debate over which bathrooms transgender people should be allowed to use, according to a new CBS/New York Times poll released Thursday.

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Forty-six percent agree with laws like the one in North Carolina, which require transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their biological sex, while 41 percent say they should use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

While they are divided on the issue, nearly 6 in 10 Americans say the decision should be left up to state or local governments.

Last week, the Obama administration issued guidelines to all public schools directing them to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, with an implied threat of a loss of federal funding if not followed.

The president’s position that the issue is a matter of civil rights requiring federal intervention is backed by just 51 percent of Democrats, while more than three quarters of Republicans say it’s a local matter.

The poll, which was conducted after President Obama issued the directive, surveyed 1,300 adults and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.