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A new poll finds opinions divided in New Jersey when it comes to the issue of transgender rights.

In the latest Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll, 47 percent of people said state government should allow transgender individuals to use the bathrooms that correspond with their identities — rather than their sex at birth. The same number holds for private businesses.

That's only a slight edge over those who say people should have to use the bathrooms that correspond to their birth sexes — 44 percent said so when talking about state government, and 41 percent when talking about privately owned business.

Poll Director Krista Jenkins said fewer support policies accommodating transgender individuals in schools — 52 percent said in those cases, people should use the bathrooms consistent with their sex at birth. Of those polled, 37 percent support allowing transgender students to use school bathrooms consistent with their chosen sexual identity.

Almost three in four, 72 percent, say they are following the issue of transgender rights, with 41 percent saying they are following it closely.

"Iit is interesting that even though that degree of visibility has yet to hit New Jersey, we are still seeing a good number of people saying that they are paying close attention to it," Jenkins said.

Jenkins says perhaps not surprisingly, support is also breaking across party lines, with Democrats being far more supportive of bathroom accommodations for the transgender community than Republicans. Nearly two-thirds of Democrats, 63 percent, say state government should accomodate transgender identities for bathroom policy, compared with 27 percent of Republicans.

Jenkins said women and millennials are the biggest supporters of transgender rights — a double-digit gender gap separates women from men on questions of bathroom accommodations by the state government (52 to 41 percent), and in K-12 schools (42 to 32 percent).

When it comes to the age of the poll respondents, Jenkins said, millennials have a double-digit difference from their older peers on this particular issue.

She said 21 percent of those polled say that they know someone who is transgendered, "and among those, the majority support accommodations (for transgender individuals) by the state government, privately-owned businesses and again, the schools."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5.

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