February 22nd, 2010
11:35 AM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: 69% OK with gays in the military

Washington (CNN) - Nearly seven in ten Americans think that people who are openly gay or lesbian should be allowed to serve in the military, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that 69 percent of the public favors allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military, with 27 percent opposed.

Full results [PDF]

"That's a dramatic turnaround from the early 1990s, when the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy was first being implemented," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In 1994, only a bare 53 percent majority felt that gays and lesbians should be allowed to openly serve in the military."

Support for allowing gays in the military is much higher among Democrats than Republicans, but the policy wins support from a majority of Republicans as well. More than eight in ten Democrats say that gays should be allowed to serve; 62 of Republicans and 63 percent of Independents agree with that view.

The poll's release follows Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut announcement Monday that he would be a sponsor of legislation next week to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which has been in place since 1993.

"The change in views on gays in the military dovetails with overall changes in public attitudes toward gays and toward homosexual behavior," adds Holland.

In 1994, a majority of Americans thought homosexual relationships were morally wrong; only 41 percent believed that homosexuality was not a moral issue. Now, for the first time since polls began asking this question in the 1970s, half the public thinks that homosexuality is not a moral issue.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

-CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN Polls • Don't Ask Don't Tell
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Troy B.

    You just can't make stuff like this up...

    February 22, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. gt

    where was this poll ,,,san francisco... nope they hate the military,,

    February 22, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Jim in San Mateo

    It's about time the military kept who you are and what you do separate.

    February 22, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. chuck

    Let us just continue to discriminate against a whole class of American citizens within our borders until 100% of all people agree that institutionalized discrimination is unfair. After all, we know that human rights should only be given to men who celebrate the vagina and women who celebrate the penis. Let us squash the dreams of millions and completely ignore the Constitution of the United States of America until civil rights for all becomes a majority decision. I know that the military is a place of unbelievable opportunity, but let us just keep those opportunities open to people who will overpopulate the planet and ignore those who have no "need to breed". Let us model our hatred of certain groups on Sunni and Shiite models of hatred in Iraq. Let us not live above the intolerant fray, but swim in the same feces infested river of intolerance like real Americans.

    February 22, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. citizen - you better BELIEVE it !

    Why the heck do we ( the public ) need to know anyone's sexual orientation ? Either get back in the closet or shut the heck up ! Where does it say anywhere that ONE must go about with a sleeve band that declares ones' orientation? If "you" want to serve in the military – SERVE and do so without wearing an arm band.

    February 22, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. SocialismBad

    What next? Will they then demand more fashionable uniforms and accessories??!! Will we allow ear rings and nail polish on guys? I don't think this is going to go over well with the lower ranks.

    February 22, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. Tram

    I don't care what someone's interests are, where their interests are, how their interests are structured. When the USA is at war or America is under attack, I'm grateful for the fact that there are people willing to defend this nation with their lives. Why should it matter? Seems to me that it's the bigots who have the problem, not gays and lesbians. If that's the case, then maybe bigots shouldn't be allowed to serve in the military.

    February 22, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Michael from Ventura

    Americans have finally realized what is happening in the world win it comes to this issue- now if they'll quit listening to the grand Obstructionist party they'll be back on track for progress!

    February 22, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Barry In Las Vegas

    I don't pay attention to CNN polls just like I don't pay attention to polls put out by other Democrat biased pollsters.

    February 22, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Artie

    Thats right CNN . Lets make the military one big do it your way gay party in the spirit of political correctness! Good for our security? What a laughing stock America has become!

    February 22, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. NVa Native

    Are we going to continue "seperation of church and state" – as the Founders intended and as is one of the most most important principles of our nation – or or not?
    It's real simple – even for the simple minded.

    February 22, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Gay or not gay, they are Americans, they are our children.

    February 22, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. T'SAH from Virginia

    AND why shouldn't they be??????????? They are Human Beings!!!

    February 22, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. larry buchas


    They're already serving. How can anyone begrudge patriotic Americans their intent to serve our country?

    February 22, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. Jimmy James

    Who cares what your sexual preference is? Do your job. Only the troublemakers looking for attention will stir trouble. It's not like they can get married. Obama is against that. I just hate that now the military has to treat a group that claims to want the same as everyone else and be treated like everyone , differently. They have to make special arrangements for housing. Men and women can't be housed together in military barracks or dorms. Now you have to separate them into 4 groups.

    As a veteran I know this is going to be a problem.

    February 22, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Sam

    I guess its an easy answer for people NOT serving in the Armed forces. A recent Army times poll still shows > 50% disapproval by the armed services.

    It may seem an easy answer except that members of the armed services live in very tight quarters – sometimes within inches of each other. In the civilian world its easy to say that you have no problem working with gay/lesbian co-workers but you go home every night.

    February 22, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Bill

    I think it's time people understand the difference between 'orientation' and 'life style'. Orientation, according to most researchers, is a non-chosen life-long physiological phenomenon, possible beginning during early pregnancy; life-style, regardless of orientation, is how a person CHOOSES to live his or her life, right or wrong. Like heterosexuals, gays and lesbians want relationships with their own kind. Military service based on orientation is flat-out wrong and DADT must go!

    February 22, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. Paul H

    I don't care about what a poll says! leave it up to each branch, and the soldiers.

    February 22, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. T'SAH from Virginia

    WOW – are you SURE it's not 68% or 70%??????????????? Come on CNN – get REAL!!! Even if it WAS 69%, you could have made it 68 or 70....................JEEZ!! ROTFLMAO!!!!

    February 22, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. Slider

    Nice poll.

    Too bad it don't count.

    It's a shame that CNN and its viewers don't understand the limits of Vox Populi Vox Dei.

    The only poll that matters is elections. Period.

    All this other handwaving is just akin to logical fallacies.

    February 22, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. serita

    It is a cop-out for some to say that they don't care about someone's sexual orientation. If that is so, then don't put pictures of loved ones on your desk. Don't tell me about you son's little league game last Saturday. Don't read your letters from you girlfriend to me. Don't tell me you have a girlfriend. Don't show me the pictures in your wallet of your new daughter. Don't talk about your home life at all to me or to anyone else. Don't share any of that information and see how long it takes until you crack from want of sharing the wonderful family and loved ones you have back home. We don't want to hear it because it's none of our business and we don't care at all. We won't ask and you don't tell – I don't care how precious your daughter, wife or son is – keep it to yourself.

    February 22, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "I don't think this is going to go over well with the lower ranks."

    Guess what? They don't get an opinion. They get to follow orders and do their godd-mn job and that's the end of it. If we can bootcamp the ornery and disobedience out of 'em, we can bootcamp the bigotry out of 'em too. Why? Because equal treatment under our laws is part of that pesky Constitution they're sworn to defend, which the GOP and it's ultra-conservative fundamentalist zealot minions are so keen on destroying.

    February 22, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. Bill

    Any time this issue is raised, the bigots show their colors: earings, fashion clothes, nail polish, et nauseum. I seem to remember seeing 'gothic' guys wearing those things and they were straight. Look around you and you'd have a hard time spotting a gay or lesbian person. They're doctors, lawyers, teachers, truck drivers, business owners, politicians, accountants, reporters, etc. And they are found in every country in the world, unless they are in hiding for their safety from their government. Orientation has NOTHING to do with a person's appearance, religion, or profession. Bigots probably fear homosexuals because of their own insecurities. They need to get a life!

    February 22, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. Pete

    Ahem. Israel has gays in their military. None of the "cohesion" issues the bigots on the Religious Right like to cite have occurred in the Israeli military.

    February 22, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Danny

    Especially during this time of 2 wars, it's ridiculous to turn away potential soldiers due to their sexual orientation. Most other civilized countries have realized this. It's time for Americans to realize that being gay doesn't mean you're going to make unwanted advances on fellow soldiers or try to convert them to the gay lifestyle. We heard these same types of arguments against allowing blacks & women to enlist and we still have the greatest military in the world. It's time for the U.S. to leave the ranks of the theocracies who want to kill gay people because they think it's against God's will.

    February 22, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
1 2 3 4