Poll: Majority of South Dakota Voters Support Legislation Banning Men from Women’s Sports

AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb

Most South Dakota Voters disagree with policies that allow “gender identity” to determine what sports team one can play on. Moreover, most would approve of Gov. Kristi Noem supporting legislation to protect women from competing against biological men who consider themselves transgender women, according to a poll.

The poll, commissioned by the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) and the American Principles Project (APP) and conducted by Spry Strategies, sampled 600 likely voters and found that the majority oppose “gender identity” policies.

The survey revealed that 56.81 percent of voters agreed that Noem should stand up to the corporations threatening to boycott or withhold jobs and investments in the state and pass a legislation to protect women’s single-sex spaces.

The results of the poll also found that South Dakota voters, like voters in much of the country, largely don’t like “gender identity” policies that would eliminate single-sex spaces. 

According to WoLF, support did largely fell along ideological lines, with the most liberal voters the most likely to support policies like allowing men in women’s homeless shelters. But there were issues that voters did agree on across ideological lines. For example, a majority of conservatives, moderates, and liberals all said male sex offenders or domestic abusers should not be housed in women’s prisons. Only about eight percent of voters support such a policy.

“The results are in line with national and state polling in California and Idaho which found a similar lack of support for “gender identity” policies across likely voters,” the article on the poll on the WoLF website said.

“These results provide evidence for what we already suspected,” Natasha Chart, executive director of WoLF, said. “Common-sense approaches to ‘gender-identity’ resonate with South Dakota voters, just as they do across the rest of the country. We hope that Governor Noem will listen to her constituents and step up to protect women’s rights in the face of corporate bullying.

“Given how many voters strongly support protecting women’s sports, we hope Gov. Noem will soon join this movement as well,” Terry Schilling, executive director of APP, said. Defending a fair playing field for female athletes, as well as equal opportunities for women in general, should be a no-brainer.”

The WoLF article explained the legislation being considered in South Dakota:

Bill HB1217 was proposed in the South Dakota House of Representatives on February 2, 2021 by Representative Rhonda Milstead. The bill would ensure that among athletic teams sponsored by public schools or funds, “A team or sport designated as being female is available only to participants who are female, based on their biological sex.”

The bill is the seventh attempt to protect women’s sports in the past few years after the South Dakota High School Activities Association enacted a policy that allows male students to complete in women’s and girls’ sports if they claim to identify as female.

When Bill HB1057 was proposed last year, which would have made it illegal for medical professionals to perform elective cosmetic surgery on minors “for the purpose of attempting to change or affirm the minor’s perception of the minor’s sex, if that perception is inconsistent with the minor’s sex,” opponents of the bill threatened the state with economic consequences should it pass. Citing a similar incident in North Carolina, opponents argued that large sporting events hosted by the NBA and NCAA may refuse to come to the state if the bill to protect children was passed.

Key findings of the poll include:

  • Fewer than one in three S.D. voters agree with Twitter suspending the accounts of users who state that humans cannot change sex.
  • A majority of S.D. voters support legislation banning males from female athletics and would be more likely to support Governor Noem if she supported such legislation.
  • Over 60 percent of S.D. voters agree that men should not be permitted in women’s changing rooms, shelters, or athletics.
  • Eighty percent of S.D. voters disapprove of allowing men who are sex offenders or domestic abusers to be housed in women’s prisons, including a majority of liberals.
  • Voters of color, especially black voters, were the least likely demographic to support most “gender identity” policies.

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