Encouraging poll results published Wednesday, Nov. 3, on the Public Religion Research Institute‘s website indicate that more than two-thirds of Americans are able to adequately explain what transgender means, and that an “overwhelming majority” of Americans across the political and religious spectrum believe that transgender people should have the same legal rights and protections as anyone else.

What’s unfortunate, however, is that results of a poll published back in June by the Center for American Progress shows most Americans already think there is a federal law giving transgender — and LGB — people protections against discrimination in the workplace. I say it’s unfortunate because as long as they think LGBTs have federal protections against workplace discrimination, they don’t see any reason to push for passage of such protections either at the federal or the state levels.

The Center for American Progress poll, conducted in the first two weeks of April, showed that 73 percent of the likely 2012 voters who were asked believe that LGBT people should be federally protected against workplace discrimination. It’s nice to see the Ts included with the LGBs in that data, since transgenders have previously been left out of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act legislation that has been considered (though not passed) by Congress.

The Ts keep getting left out because supporters of the bill think that including them will somehow torpedo the chances for getting protections for the LGBs. It’s been a “Well, let’s get what we can now for everybody else then come back later and pick up the Ts” situation. Funny thing though, those who would have voted against the bill if it had included transgenders voted against it anyway because it included lesbians and gays.

But let’s get back to the new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute. Religion and Political Tracking Surveys were conducted in August and again in September, and the two surveys combined into the report published Wednesday, constituting “one of the first independent studies of attitudes on transgender issues and Americans’ knowledge of transgender identity,” according to the PRRI website.

Here are some of the key findings:

• 3 out of 4 Americans say Congress should pass a federal employment nondiscrimination law protecting trans people.

• 74 percent approve of Congress’ recent vote to expand hate crimes legislation to include transgenders.

• About two-thirds say they are well informed on trans issues and have a general understanding of what “transgender” means.

• 89 percent say trans people deserve the same legal rights and protections as everyone else, and that support is across the political and religious spectrum.

(If you want to read the summary of the research findings for yourself, go here.)

All that support, and a pledge by President Obama to sign ENDA into law, and still the Republicans in Congress won’t vote for it. Makes you wonder what constitutes they are actually representing, doesn’t it.