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Gays in the U.S. Military: The Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy

2000 to 2008: Individual opinion polls on
gays & lesbians serving openly in the military

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See another essay for an overview and longitudinal polls extending over many years.

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Results of individual public opinion polls:

bullet 2000-JAN: Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll sampled 982 registered voters. The margin of error is ±3.0 percentage points. The question was: "One issue that has come up in the presidential debates is gays in the military. Do you think gay men and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military?"

Results were:
bullet 57% supported gays serving openly;
bullet 30% were opposed;
bullet 13% were unsure. 1

bullet 2005-MAY: The Boston Globe sponsored a national poll conducted by the New Hampshire Survey Center. They polled 760 American adults between MAY-04 to 09. The margin of error is ±3.6 percentage points, and reported the results on 2005-MAY-15.

Most of the questions were related to same-sex marriage. However, they also asked about the military's exclusion of openly homosexual personnel. Results were:
bullet 79% of the subjects felt that gays and lesbians should be able to serve in the military.
bullet 18% were opposed.
bullet 4% were unsure or didn't respond.

The Globe reported that:

"Large majorities of Republicans, regular churchgoers, and people with negative attitudes toward gays think gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military." 2,3


bullet 2006-OCT: Between OCT-24 and OCT-26, Zogby International polled 545 U.S. military personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The margin of error is ±4.3 percentage points.

Results were:
bullet Is a member of their unit homosexual?
bullet 45% suspect one or more.
bullet 31% does not suspect any.
bullet 23% were definitely aware of one or more.
bullet 55% said that the presence of gays and lesbians is well known within their unit.
bullet Should gays and lesbians be allowed to serve?
bullet 37% disagreed
bullet 26% agreed
bullet About 75% felt comfortable around gays and lesbians
bullet 78% would join the military regardless of whether gays and lesbians were allowed to openly serve. 4
 
bullet 2007-MAY: A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was held between MAY-04 and 06. The specific question was: "Do you think people who are openly gay or homosexual should or should not be allowed to serve in the U.S. military?"

Results were:
bullet 79%believe that openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the military
bullet 18% oppose openly gay persons in the military.
bullet 3% had no opinion or did not answer. 5
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bullet 2008-JUL: A detailed Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted between 2008-JUL-10 to 13 among 1,119 adults. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points. It is particularly interesting because the pollsters reported results as a function of religious and political party affiliation. 6
Support for allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly was:
bullet 82% among Roman Catholics.
bullet Over 80% among women.
bullet Over 80% among Democrats.
bullet 80% among those with no declared religious affiliation.
bullet Over 75% among independents.
bullet 75% among the general population. This is an increase of 13 percentage points since early 2001.
bullet Over 2/3rds of men.
bullet 66% among Republicans (This is more than double the 1993 value of 32%).
bullet Almost 2/3rds among persons identifying themselves as conservatives.
bullet 57% among white evangelical Christians!!

 

bullet 2008-DEC-4: Princeton Survey Research Associates asked: "Do you think there should or should NOT be ... gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. Results were 66% in favor, 29% against.  The margin of error is ±3.7 percentage points. 7

bullet 2008-DEC-21: A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was held between DEC-19 and 21. Results were:
bullet 81% believe that openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the military
bullet 17% oppose openly gay persons in the military.
bullet 2% had no opinion or did not answer.

The question asked was: "Do you think people who are openly gay or homosexual should or should not be allowed to serve in the U.S. military?" We have never seen a poll on a question related to sex or morality in which the percentage of adults stating no opinion was so small.

The margin of error was ±3 percentage points. 8


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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Same-sex marriage, gay rights," Polling Report, at: http://www.pollingreport.com/
  2. Scott S. Greenberger, "One year later, nation divided on gay marriage. Split seen by region, age, Globe poll finds," Boston Globe, 2005-MAY-15, at: http://www.boston.com/
  3. "Nationwide opinions," The Boston Globe, at: http://www.boston.com/
  4. John Zogby, et al., "Opinions of Military Personnel on Sexual Minorities in the Military," 2006-DEC, at: http://www.palmcenter.org/ This is a PDF file
  5. "Law and civil rights," Polling Report, at: http://www.pollingreport.com/
  6. Kyle Dropp & Jon Cohen, "Acceptance of Gay People in Military Grows Dramatically," Washington Post, 2009-JUL-19, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  7. "Law and civil rights," Polling Report, at: http://www.pollingreport.com/
  8. "Obama aide: 'Ending don't ask don't tell must wait," CNN, 2009-JAN-15, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  9. Lymari Morales, "Conservatives Shift in Favor of Openly Gay Service Members," Gallup Inc., 2009-JUN-05, at: http://www.gallup.com/
  10. "Support for Gays in the Military Crosses Ideological, Party Lines," ABC News, 2010-FEB-12, at: http://abcnews.go.com This is a PDF file.
  11. Emily Swanson, "Most support DADT repeal, but Tea Party opposed," Huffington Post, 2010-NOV-29, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  12. Ed O'Keefe, "Democrats confident in repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' policy," Washington Post, 2010-NOV-19, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  13. Ed. O'Keefe & Hon Cohen, "Most back repealing 'don't ask, don't tell,' poll says," Washington Post, 2010-DEC-15, at: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/
  14. "Where is the USCCB on 'Don't Ask, Don'tTell'?" Examiner.com, 2010-DEC-29, at: http://www.examiner.com/

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Copyright © 2000 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-MAR-16
Latest update: 2010-DEC-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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