Poll: Majority support gays serving openly in military
November 29th, 2010
11:46 AM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Majority support gays serving openly in military

Washington (CNN) - A national poll released Monday indicates that a majority of Americans say they favor allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces.

The Pew survey's release comes one day before the Pentagon is expected to release a report on how military personnel feel about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which bans openly gay troops for serving in the armed forces.

According to the poll, 58 percent of the public approves of allowing homosexuals to serve openly, with 27 percent saying they are opposed. Pew surveys indicate little change over the past five years, but the 31-point margin in favor of allowing gays to serve is much larger than than the seven-point margin in Pew polls from the summer of 1994, when President Bill Clinton put the controversial policy in place.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted earlier in November indicated that more than seven in 10 Americans said that people who are openly gay or lesbian should be allowed to serve in the military, with 23 percent opposed.

"The main difference between the CNN poll and the Pew poll is in the number of respondents who told pollsters that they didn't have an opinion on this topic - 16 percent in the Pew poll compared to only five percent in the CNN survey," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The two polls report virtually the same number who say they oppose gays serving openly in the military, which suggests that there are some people who favor that change in policy but for some reason were reluctant to admit that to the Pew interviewers. That happens occasionally on topics where moral issues and equal-treatment issues intersect."

According to the Pew survey, seven in 10 Democrats and more than six in 10 independent voters favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military with Republicans divided on the issue. By a 48 to 34 percent margin, white evangelical Protestants questioned say they oppose allowing gays from serving openly, while majorities or pluralities of other religious groups surveyed favor allowing gays to serve.

Following the release of the Pentagon report and congressional hearings, lawmakers may vote on repealing "don't ask, don't tell."

The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life was conducted Nov. 4-7, with 1,255 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Filed under: CNN Polls • Don't Ask Don't Tell
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Ken in NC

    That Old Buzzard, John McCain is still living in the 18th century and wants everyone else to live there with him. He needs to get himself a Slurrrpie and move into this century and join the rest of his family.

    November 29, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. GI Joe

    McSongbird is the only thing I see NOT WORKING – He definitely isn't earning his pay. Then, he never did. Almost flunked school, wrecked planes, sat out the war in Hanoi Hilton with viet namese women catering to him, on disab ility now, holding up progress for our country.

    WHAT A WASTE of a human (sort of).

    November 29, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Dave

    Don't tell John McCain (and the rest of the republican party). Their head will explode. They will just say the 58 percent of the people in the United States will not get into heaven.

    November 29, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Is a bullet safer than having gays serve in the military? John McCain and people like him seem to think gays are more dangerous than a bullet when a bullet to the body doesn't care who you are, gay or straight. I think DADT is the most ignorant thing America should be dealing with.

    November 29, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. jules sand-perkins

    Almost all of the Americans I know–and all the Europeans–would support the repeal of DADT.
    "In Europe, we have 'don't ask, don't care,'" one said.
    Senator John McCain has reached–as have I–an age where friends are important treasures. I believe that Sen. McCain could form a meaningful friendship with the Prime Minister of Kenya, if they have not met.

    November 29, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. T'sah from Virginia

    @ken in NC –
    And what really gets to me is the fact that McCain states that DADT is working!!! Yes it WORKS until someone "OPENLY" admits they are gay – then they get "KICKED TO THE CURB".

    How many times do we have to poll the American people about this???? Once DADT is passed, everything will come out the closet and it will NOT just be MOTHS!!!

    President Obama, please continue to Move America Forward and leave the OLD FARTS behind – Jeez!!

    November 29, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    Just ANOTHER attempt by the leftists in control of our government to jam something down somebody elses throat and tell them it is good for them. Let the MILITARY DECIDE if, when and how do this this if they deem it necessary and that it will not damage out military. These leftist clowns wouldn't care if forcing this in hurt our military. They probably consider that yet another beneficial result.

    November 29, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. CitizenJP

    The nation belongs equally to all people irrespective of their sexual orientation. Everyone has a right to openly serve in the military to defend their country. Anything otherwise seems utterly unconstitutional.

    November 29, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think that since this is an ALL VOLUNTEER military, we shouldn't care as long as that person can do the job well and is loyal to the US. I don't care who that person finds attractive. If that person can follow the orders given by the commander and chief and the other officers of the military, then let them serve.

    November 29, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. GonzoinHouston

    I was a navy officer back in the 80's before DADT. I saw a dozen cases of sailors being separated for homosexuality. Af that 12, 11 were voluntary and only 1 was forced. Those 12 ran the gamut from outstanding to dirt bag, just like the rest of the navy. They were long known to be gay by their shipmates and NCOs. (nothing happens on a ship that a chief doesn't know about – trust me) The understanding then was exactly what it had been for centuries; don't make trouble, do your job, and all will be well.

    Every argument against gays serving openly is based on some disproven hypothetical or on religious doctrine. Every argument in favor of it is based on experience. Canada, England, and Germany have had no problems with it. Every original member of NATO but the US has allowed gays to serve openly and the effect on military capability has been nil. We are long past due to repeal DADT and get on with the 21st century.

    November 29, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. Hypocricy is a Speeding Prius

    Gee, I think the majority of Americans believe in UFOs, but that doesn't make them real or a good thing. Accepting homosexuals won't work in the military, any more than drafting the blind or deaf. They deserve equal rights, but not equal opportunities for government service. If they want to serve, let them do other government jobs. As a veteran, I don't think homosexuality will aid military readiness.

    November 29, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. Squiggs

    People who don't have an opinion don't care if they serve openly by default. This issue is another situation that the US waste time and money on due never ending bigotry of some kind in this country. There is a segment of American society that has to have someone to put down. We know who they are and they have too much power. That idiot Mccain is a perfect example. First he says that he wants to wait for a report to see how it would effect moral despite the overwhelming number of soldiers who say they should serve then before the report he says he's going to wait for he comes out today and gives an opinion on how it will affect moral. This guy is a total loser and liar. Wy not just say he dosen't support it ao that we can decide to ignore this rat from the desert of AZ.

    November 29, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    DADT... If you don't like it, don't join the military!

    November 29, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. slsmith66

    The fact of the matter is that gays and lesbians already serve in the military. Nothing new and most know who they are. The difference is that with DADT in place if someone decides they don't like the "gay or lesbian" person serving they can offer them up for court marshal. Once outed these people are then forced into court marshal hearings and cost the budget defense tons of money (in retraining a new replacement, the hearings, and etc.).

    November 29, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. markus

    DADT has been wrong on so many levels. Anyone who thinks it "works" has their head stuck in the sand (or up in some other place).

    when you have brave young men and women risking their lives on our behalf and then being dismissed for being who they are...it's disgusting. The worst has been people who HAVEN'T disclosed this info- a third party stumbling onto the info and reporting the soldier...and then they're discharged. They weren't asked, they didn't tell...and they still got the boot...

    November 29, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. rdepontb

    Squiggs: Everyone agrees that the Republicans dreg up one baseless, tasteless, unnecessary issue after another. It seems the whole party is bent on destroying not just the Obama White House, but the entire country-economy, infrastructure, fabric and soul. Arizona is largely made up of people from other areas, and I guess that gives them the right to elect any crazy coot they feel like-just to git bak' at dem young'uns, I guess.

    November 29, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. Brett

    Repeal DADT, and let's move on already! We have bigger world issues to deal with.

    November 29, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "These leftist clowns wouldn't care if forcing this in hurt our military. "

    EVIDENCE would be nice if you'd like to rant that way. Do you have any? Oooooooh that's right...evidence exists, but all of it that exists...the survey, historical record with respect to integration of black people in to the military, expert opinions from top military brass, the experience of myriad other coutries around the world who have openly gay service members, etc...DOESN"T SUPPORT THE ALLEGATION THAT REPEAL OF DADT WILL HARM OUR HE MILITARY. Not in any way, shape or form...not recruitment, not performance, not behavior, nothing. It's all pie-in-the-sky ideological buyllsh-t from the conservaitve fundy-pandering right wing partisan political machine. You know what the military and the congress that regulates it SHOULD be doing above all else? Basing their decision-making on facts. Not a single one supports keeping the DADT policy in place. Zip. Zilch. Zero. None. Nada. All that has to be done to understand the conservative opposition to this is look at where their money comes from, how they divide the country by pandering to religious wingnut fundamentalist idiocy and then pay attention to the epitome of conservative though on this issue: Pampers McCain, who has changed his position on DADT every single time the issue hit the table because, well, society kept progressing and ruining his last caveat, so he needed to invent a new one for expediance' s sake...can't let any good wedge issues go to waste now, can we? No no no...horse dead or not, keep yelling and swinging a big stick.

    November 29, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Son of CSM.Wiggins

    I don't know why my father has fought for this country so long . He thought he was fighting to protect peoples rights. But I guess not . I all ways knew that all men were not created equall. It's funny that some people believe they have racial superiority and have completey distorted gods word to further push there views on everyone else. Stop using my religion to push you evil hate filled views republicans and tea tards. I read the bible your nothing like Jesus at all. What are yall gonna do when he comes back and does not have blonde hair and blue eyes lmbo. How many will deny him when he looks middle eastern with dread locks lol .

    November 29, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. Stephen in Bedford, TX

    As a married, heterosexual and former submarine sailor before DADT I'm in support of repealing DADT. The issue that should be of greater concern is the behavior of soldiers and sailors, not their orientation.

    November 29, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. Marla

    Let's take it a step further! Let the domestic partners of these brave Americans who are serving our country have the same medical, commissary and social benefits that I enjoy as a military spouse. They deserve respect, too.

    November 29, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. diridi

    what is wrong with gays serving openly in military...???? Silly McCain is stupid....that's it...what all they need is strong body and mentally sound and how to use guns in military....not like Texas psychiatric guy....o.k....

    November 29, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. annie s

    Can't be. Republicans claim to listen to the American people and they're against equal rights for all Americans – um, I mean, they're against repealing DADT.

    November 29, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |