Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News | Polls

Poll: 57 Percent Say Gays Should Serve Openly in Military

A new Quinnipiac poll reveals that most Americans feel that gays should be able to serve openly in the military:

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Homosexuals should be able to openly serve in the U.S. military, American voters say 57 - 36 percent. Voters also say 66 - 31 percent the current policy of not allowing openly gay men and women to serve is discrimination, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. 

But by a 54 - 38 percent margin, American voters say gays in the military should face restrictions on exhibiting their sexual orientation on the job, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds. 

Voters from military households with an active or reserve member or a veteran in their family split 48 - 47 percent on ending "don't ask; don't tell." Support for repeal is 72 - 23 percent among Democrats and 56 - 37 percent among independent voters. Republicans oppose repeal 53 - 40 percent. Men support repeal 51 - 44 percent; women support it 62 - 29 percent. 

On other related questions, American voters say: 

82 - 10 percent that the military should stop pursuing disciplinary action against gays who are outed against their will; 

65 - 30 percent, including 57 - 38 percent among voters in military families, that ending "don't ask; don't tell" will not be divisive or hurt the ability to fight effectively; 

50 - 43 percent that the Pentagon should not provide for domestic partners of gay personnel; 

Split 45 - 46 percent on whether heterosexual personnel should be required to share quarters with gay personnel.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,617 registered voters nationwide during the period of February 2 to February 8, with a margin of error of +/- 1.9 percentage points.

Full poll results here.

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Comments

  1. You mean to tell me that this poll included the question: "Should gays in the military face restrictions on exhibiting their sexual orientation on the job"?

    Why should that even be a consideration? Doesn't everyone face restrictions on exhibiting their sexuality on the job? How in the world do they expect gay soldiers to exhibit their orientation in a way that wouldn't normally be prohibited by normal workplace rules, by holding an impromptu Gilmore Girls-themed fashion show and parade?

    Oooh, I just had an idea.

    Posted by: JeffRob | Feb 10, 2010 10:40:01 AM


  2. 57 - 36 percent - Homosexuals should be able to openly serve in the U.S. military, American voters say.

    54 - 38 - gays in the military should face restrictions on exhibiting their sexual orientation on the job.

    50 - 43 - the Pentagon should not provide for domestic partners of gay personnel.

    As I said yesterday, I'm not nearly as excited about this DADT discussion as some seem to be. The message is LOUD AND CLEAR that America overwhelming believes that we should fight, sacrifice and die defending THEIR rights as long as we don't "act gay" in the fox hole (whatever that means) or, heaven forbid, dare ask for the rights, responsibilities, benefits and privileges that we fight, sacrifice and die for.

    I'm having a hard time understanding how this is supposed to make us feel that Americans are becoming more accepting of gay people.

    I do think having openly gay people with missing arms, or with partners/spouses coming home in body bags, asking for the rights that they sacrificed and died for will make it very hard for the anti-gays to challenge. I also suspect that THIS is what they truly fear, much more than sleeping or shower arrangements.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Feb 10, 2010 10:45:39 AM


  3. I also suspect that the same people who say that a 52 - 48 vote to overturn a pro-gay law in California and a 52 - 48 vote to overturn a pro-gay law in Maine were MANDATES whereas a 57 - 36 opinion to overturn an anti-gay law is just too close to call on such an important matter.

    Just like the people who claim that we don't have time to spend on gay rights legislation during a recession and two wars are the very same people who are more than willing to use every means, take as much time as necessary and do whatever it takes in Iowa and New Hampshire and Hawaii and on the floors of the US House and Senate to try to derail existing gay rights and marriage equality laws or, worse yet, to push through silly resolutions praising the Tea Party movement or practically knighting the criminal who "uncovered" the Acorn "scandal" that he made up.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Feb 10, 2010 10:54:35 AM


  4. Interesting, but in the end it doesn't matter what anyone thinks. These are military personnel. They will do what they're ordered to do.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Feb 10, 2010 12:00:31 PM


  5. "I'm having a hard time understanding how this is supposed to make us feel that Americans are becoming more accepting of gay people."

    Because the numbers today are more supportive than the polling in previous times; ya, know, which means people today are in fact more accepting.

    Posted by: Javier | Feb 10, 2010 12:45:58 PM


  6. Support for DADT repeal was higher in 2008 than it is now. Which is, sadly, entirely predictable. What always happens is the opinion polls tend to tighten when the underlying conflict actually happens. As with universal healthcare, support for gay rights always collapses when the President - whether it is Clinton or Obama - actually tries to move it through Congress or there's a referendum on it forthcoming. Americans support the notion of equality as an abstraction. But in their hearts, they are basically still as bigoted as they always were. And when push comes to shove, their commitment will waver.

    Posted by: John | Feb 10, 2010 1:10:02 PM


  7. John, I was just about to say that. With gay rights and other progressive issues, support tends to collapse when actual progress, beyond mere theory, seems to be at hand. After the Supreme Court overturned sodomy bans, support for gay rights plummeted and did not recover for a couple of years. After gay marriage was legalized in MA and CA, support for gay rights dipped again. IT seems that people get uneasy when gay rights are on the cusp of getting enshrined in law. A lot of purported support for gay rights is inflated because a lot of people who support gay equality are very weak in their support and can easily be persuaded to the other side, which is much more fervent, zealous, and committed to their causes. Just look at the majority of people who think gay soldiers should not overtly display their sexual orientation: it shows a strong, deep discomfort of homosexuality remains in America.

    Posted by: Javier | Feb 10, 2010 1:22:39 PM


  8. JAVIER, please explain to us all how more people supporting our right to fight and die for THEIR rights (which they are often unwilling to fight for themselves) while at the same time, in the SAME poll, not supporting our access to the rights and benefits we are fighting for is progress.

    Forgive me if I set my bar for gauging support for gay people a bit higher than whether or not people who don't support our rights support using us as cannon fodder.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Feb 10, 2010 1:23:48 PM


  9. John, EXACTLY!

    Just as the polls in California and Maine showed support for marriage equality which dissipated more and more the closer to election day. Then, with polls still showing support, some of the voters who told pollsters that they supported equality went into the booth and voted to repeal it.

    People are so desperate to show than the public loves, or even likes, us that they go to any lengths to deny reality.

    Newsflash. America is still a very homophobic country. The think that is changing more than anything is their willingness to publicly state their dislike, fear or hate. It's like saying Mississippi is post racial. As a Mississippian I can assure you that attitudes about race are not much different than they were in the 1960's. The ONLY difference is that people are much less likely to flaunt their racism in public or in mixed company. If they could vote on segregation and separate water fountains by secret ballot today, both would win landslide victories.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Feb 10, 2010 1:39:03 PM



  10. If the term for African Americans had been "Negrosexual" during the 60s, we still wouldn't have equal rights for that group. It is the notion of sex that makes so many people uncomfortable and hateful.

    Posted by: Javier | Feb 10, 2010 1:44:23 PM


  11. Why don't these polls ever have parallel questions about heterosexuals for comparison's sake?
    For example: Should soildiers be forced to bunk with homosexuals? I'm sure some of the people who answered no did no because of homophobic bias, but others might answer the same when asked whether soldiers should be forced to bunk with heterosexuals. Maybe some are thinking "they can't all be forced to bunk with homosexuals; they should bunk with whoever they happen to be put with."
    Likewise: Should there be any restrictions on how gay people display their orientation on the job? well, if hey're ging to ask that, then they should also ask whether there should be any restrictions on heterosexual soldiers displaying their sexual orientation on the job.
    Some / may / a lot of respondents may just be thinking, "Well, nobody should be displaying anything sexual on the job." And I would agree. When I'm at work, I don't need anyone, straight or gay, talking about their sexual attractions during a staff meeting.
    (For the record, I definitely would argue that whatever the rules are, they should apply the same to all without any regard to anyone's sex or orientation).


    I'm not saying that many of the responses would not be based on an anti-gay double standard (I'm well aware that bigotry still exists among far too many Americans), but the data on some of the more vague questions become even more meaningless when there is no indication of whether or not they would say the same about heterosexuals.

    Posted by: GregV | Feb 10, 2010 5:52:38 PM


  12. polls are meaningless. if that poll were 57 percent in the other direction, without massaging (as is done above), would it be ok to deny homosexuals and lesbians the right to serve?

    by the way, javier, are there unisex showers in the US military? are all units in all branches composed of both sexes in all matters? if it's ok for women to be afraid of men, and get special privileges out of that fear for a woman's sexual safety.... why is it not ok for straights to be afraid of homosexuals?

    it cuts both ways. maybe the sex aspect should be confronted head on, instead of confused with the racial aspect which really doesn't fit.

    Posted by: zeta | Feb 10, 2010 5:55:18 PM


  13. To some degree, I agree that sexual issues are not the same as racial issues. People have a right to be modest or even conservative about sexual or privacy matters. Thus, I do think there has to be some type of solution to privacy concerns about integrating gays into the military. Of course, many gays are already there, but having openly gay soldiers does pose problems for those who will have difficulty undressing in their presence or bunking with them. Their fears should not be discounted because it may be what engulfs this hold debate later this year and next year and ultimately doom any repeal.

    Posted by: lucas | Feb 10, 2010 7:33:34 PM


  14. While these poll results might be somewhat interesting, they don't mean anything. For one thing, as other commenters have pointed out, the way poll questions are worded and what they don't ask instantly skew the answers. And, most importantly, if we argue that our rights should not be voted on and subject to majority rule (Prop 8) we can't use statistics such as these just because they favor our side to make any point at all. Next.

    Posted by: Aron | Feb 10, 2010 11:06:59 PM


  15. "Of course, many gays are already there, but having openly gay soldiers does pose problems for those who will have difficulty undressing in their presence or bunking with them. "

    Lucas, I don't see how that is any different than a white soldier who has a light-skinned black roommate and would have difficulty undressing in front of him or bunking with him if he knew he was black.

    We don't have any rules that anyone can't talk about any other personal detail (his heterosexuality, his Judaism, his Christianity, his political viewpoint, his sexual past, his criminal record, etc. etc.) out of accommodation for the potential fears that some theoretical bunkmate might have.

    Posted by: GregV | Feb 10, 2010 11:40:20 PM


  16. "But by a 54 - 38 percent margin, American voters say gays in the military should face restrictions on exhibiting their sexual orientation on the job, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds."

    WHAT? Guess this means you can't sing show tunes in the foxhole, wear feather boas with your uniform, no eyeliner or false eyelashes with your face camouflage , and I suppose that drilling glory holes in the latrine would be totally out of the question.

    Please explain exactly how anyone acceptably "exhibits" their sexual orientation (homo or hetro) in any professional job situation. This is a loaded question and one that falls well below the standards of questioning usually done by Quinnipiac.

    Posted by: ChrisM | Feb 11, 2010 9:37:09 AM


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