HERO Gains Support

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HERO gains support

The city’s controversial equal rights ordinance, known as HERO, also is expected to draw voters to the polls in November. Of those surveyed, 52 percent said they would vote for the law, while 37 percent said they would vote against it; 10 percent were undecided.

Rice University political scientist Mark Jones cautioned that the poll does not account for nontraditional city voters who may turn out this year to vote on the ordinance.

The ordinance bans discrimination based on numerous classes, but opponents have focused on its protection of sexual orientation and gender identity, alleging that it allows male sexual predators dressed in drag to enter women’s restrooms.

HERO supporters say the ordinance provides necessary local protections, warning that a repeal would be detrimental to Houston’s image and economy.

The poll also likely under-represents support for Turner, Hall and, potentially, Garcia, Jones said, because it surveyed lower percentages of African- American and Hispanic voters than are expected to turn out in November.

Sixty two percent of respondents identified as white, 20 percent as black, 10 percent as Hispanic and 2 percent as Asian.

“This survey would appear to be underestimating African-American turnout by at least 10 percent and, perhaps, a little more,” Jones said, adding, “If there are people who are being driven to turnout by the HERO ordinance or by Adrian Garcia’s mobilization of the Hispanic community, they would not be represented.”

Asked what issue is most important in deciding their mayoral votes, 19 percent of respondents said street and road maintenance, followed by the economy and jobs at 16 percent, and HERO at 14 percent.

The poll of 500 Houston residents, who indicated they almost certainly or probably would vote in November, was conducted Sept. 21-24, and has a margin of error of plus- or minus-4.4 percentage points.