Most West Virginians say athletes should only be allowed to play on sports teams that match their sex at birth.

That’s according to the latest MetroNews West Virginia Poll, which surveyed 400 registered voters August 20-25. On this question, respondents were asked to pick which of two statements best express their view.

Sixty-five percent of respondents said athletes should only be allowed to play on sports teams that match their sex at birth.

Twenty-three percent said transgender athletes should be allowed to play on sports teams that match their current gender identity.

That closely matches the results of a national Gallup poll from earlier this year, which showed that a majority of Americans (62 percent) say trans athletes should only be allowed to play on sports teams that correspond with their sex at birth, while 34 percent said they should be able to play on teams that match their gender identity.

This year, West Virginia joined dozens of states placing restrictions on transgender athletes’ participation on sports teams.

The new law defines male and female “based solely on the individual’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” It says “any student aggrieved by a violation of this section may bring an action” against a county board of education or college “alleged to be responsible for the alleged violation” — intended to allow lawsuits over anyone contending a transgender athlete was gaining advantage in sports.

Advocates for the bill said it would protect young female athletes from competing against stronger athletes who were born male.

Opponents said the bill is discriminatory, mean-spirited, a likely turnoff for business investment and a possible conflict with competition under the NCAA.

The new law is being challenged in U.S. district court on behalf of a middle schooler who wants to run on the girls cross country team.

The poll question results were divided along party lines.

Eighty-one percent of Republican respondents said athletes should only be allowed to participate on teams matching their sex at birth.

Forty-eight percent of Democrats also said athletes should only be allowed to participate on teams matching their sex at birth. Thirty-five percent of Democrats said transgender athletes should be allowed to play on teams matching their gender identity. And 17 percent of Democrats said they aren’t sure.

Among respondents who described themselves as moderates, 63 percent would limit athletes to sports teams that match their sex at birth, 24 percent would allow athletes to join teams that match their gender identity and 13 percent say they are not sure.

Among respondents describing themselves as liberal, 49 percent would allow transgender athletes to join teams that match their gender identity, 32 percent say participation on sports teams should match the athlete’s sex at birth and 19 percent don’t know.

Among conservatives, 86 percent would limit athletes to teams matching their sex at birth, 7 percent would allow athletes to join teams matching their gender identity and 7 percent don’t know.

There were slight differences between the way men and women answered the question.

Sixty-nine percent of men said athletes should only be allowed to join teams that match their sex at birth. Sixty percent of women expressed that view, still the majority.