RALEIGH – Results from a recent poll released July 16 show that citizens across North Carolina overwhelmingly support an anti-bullying bill that would protect students, even if that bill includes protections on the basis of sexual orientation.

“There is currently a proposal in the General Assembly that specifies the need to protect children from bullying based on their sexual orientation,” the polling company asked. “Do you think this provision should be passed into law?”

Public Policy Polling said that a total of 72 percent of those polled said they’d support the School Violence Prevention Act (HB 1366), an anti-bullying bill with sexual orientation protections. Of the Democrats polled, 84 percent supported the provision. A majority of Republicans polled, 58 percent, also supported the measure.

“Although there’s certainly been a lot of noise in opposition to this provision of the bill, the results of this poll would indicate that’s coming from a pretty small minority of North Carolina’s population,” Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a press release. “When it comes to the public at large, they overwhelmingly think there should be a provision specifically naming sexual orientation as something children need to be protected from bullying for.”

During the last week of the legislature, conservatives have rallied to stop the bill’s passage. Their movement resulted in the Senate vote on the bill being delayed. (see related story)

“We’re close,” EqualityNC Executive Director Ian Palmquist told Q-Notes on Wednesday. “I think we’ll really have a chance of getting it through the Senate. We’re working.”

The House and Senate were scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday. Both bodies have now scheduled the vote for today. Palmquist warned that the Senate will likely not vote on the bill unless they have the votes necessary to pass it.

In their latest email action alert, EqualityNC urged supporters to contact senators whose swing votes might push the bill forward to the desk of the governor.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.