Gays and Lesbians Poll Better than Homosexuals

Support for Gays in the Military Depends on the Question,” Kevin Hechtkopf informs us in the No Duh Headline of the Week. But the specifics are interesting: It seems people are much more sympathetic to “gays and lesbians” than to “homosexuals.”

A new CBS News/ New York Times poll finds that the wording of the question is key when it comes to determining whether Americans support allowing gays to serve in the military.

In the poll, 59 percent say they now support allowing “homosexuals” to serve in the U.S. military, including 34 percent who say they strongly favor that. Ten percent say they somewhat oppose it and 19 percent say they strongly oppose it. But the numbers differ when the question is changed to whether Americans support “gay men and lesbians” serving in the military. When the question is asked that way, 70 percent of Americans say they support gay men and lesbians serving in the military, including 19 percent who say they somewhat favor it. Seven percent somewhat oppose it, and 12 percent strongly oppose it.

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When it comes to whether Americans support allowing gays to serve openly, there is also a difference based on the term used. When referred to as “homosexuals,” 44 percent favor allowing them to serve openly. When referred to as “gay men and lesbians,” the percentage rises to 58 percent.

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[…]

No matter the term used, support for gays to serve in the military has risen since 1993, when the debate arose early in Bill Clinton’s presidency. In 1993, 42 percent said they favored allowing homosexuals to serve, with 21 percent saying they strongly favored it; that compared to 42 percent who opposed allowing them to serve (29 percent strongly). In 1993, 37 percent said they supported allowing homosexuals to serve openly and 56 percent opposed. However, support is down from one year ago, when 67 percent said they supported allowing homosexuals to serve (46 percent strongly).

I’m not sure I can explain the vast differences in the poll results, other than perhaps  “gays and lesbians” is more humanizing than the more clinical “homosexuals.”   I’m also unsure why we’d see a big drop in support for gays in the military from last year; perhaps it’s a function of President Obama’s finally pressing the issue and the fact that his approval numbers have plummeted (although they’re still remarkably high, considering the state of the economy and the political climate).

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Military Affairs, Public Opinion Polls, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    Maybe all the old people questioned still consider ‘gay’ to mean ‘happy’.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    Does the term “homosexual” draw attention to conduct, where as the other term more strongly connotes a status?

  3. Triumph says:

    This is disgusting. More clear evidence that Gay Barry H. is successful in indoctrinating America to become gay.

    We won’t need to worry about terrorists if this stuff keeps up, since God will likely destroy America with an earthquake like He did in Haiti for our sins.

  4. Eric Florack says:

    Thus do we better understand the penchant of the left for, upon encountering public resistance to a particular idea, simply changing its name. “the public option” being changed to “the people’s option’ or whatever they fell to calling it, as an example. Or rasing middle class taxes being changed to ‘investing in America”.

  5. floyd says:

    So… The Bard’s mistaken??
    ” it is nor hand, nor foot,
    Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
    Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
    What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet”??
    LOL

  6. Herb says:

    This sounds funny, but I think it’s plausible:

    It all comes down to porn. Porn has mainstreamed lesbianism in a way that Bille Jean King, Ellen Degenerous, and Rosie O’Donnell could never dream of.

    Someone should chart it, actually. The correlation between the mainstreaming of porn and the mainstreaming of gay tolerance. I believe it’s there if you only look.

  7. Wayne says:

    I agree that wording, how they phrase something and leading question can affect polls. However I am not too sure on this one. It would be interesting to see exactly how they did it and if other polls would confirm it. Something smells fishy. The conclusion either way doesn’t interest me but the process does.

  8. anjin-san says:

    Thus do we better understand the penchant of the left for, upon encountering public resistance to a particular idea, simply changing its name.

    And of course, its only the left that does this. Just ask the guys who suffered “enhanced interrogation”.

    Speaking of torture bitsy, I thought you promised you were leaving, never to return…

  9. Some Homophobe says:

    They should also ask the question using the word “queers” or “faggots”.

  10. Eric Florack says:

    And of course, its only the left that does this. Just ask the guys who suffered “enhanced interrogation”.

    Yes, let’s. But first explain to us all how what they underwent is either ‘torture’ or unjustified.

  11. Eric Florack says:

    Speaking of torture bitsy, I thought you promised you were leaving, never to return…

    A quote backing this claim would be interesting.

  12. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    Paraphrasing, “It’s the homosex, stupid”.

    Two major successes of the homosexual “rights” movement are its ability to avoid any discussion of the consequences of homosexual behavior and the relative financial affluence of its participants.

  13. yetanotherjohn says:

    To be fair, it could be people were thinking it refered to ‘happy’ people and those from the island of Lesbos.
    I think a test poll asking if they objected to practicing thesbians from serving and the follow up question whether their opinion changed knowing that the thesbian performed in public for money.

  14. Grewgills says:

    Two major successes of the homosexual “rights” movement are its ability to avoid any discussion of the consequences of homosexual behavior and the relative financial affluence of its participants.

    What exactly are those consequences?

  15. Triumph says:

    What exactly are those consequences?

    The consequence is that gayness is a spreading disease. If you is a normal person and you be exposed to a live gay, then you would usually turn gay yourself. The gays are major recruiters–kind of like Scientologists.

    The more gays there are around, the consequences are bad–no more procreation, no more children, and no more humanity.

    This is why the global warming crowd like Al “Earth Tones” Gore love the gays so much. They be gay and they be wanting to get rid of all the people to stop anthropogenic climate change.

    Since gays hate natural procreation, they hate humanity and, therefore, hate us as Americans. In this regard there is nothing different between the gays and the terrorists.

    The more gays you have, the more terrorism–THAT’S THE CONSEQUENCES!

  16. davod says:

    John Derbyshire’s April 25, 2001 article “How Perfectly Disgusting” postulates why homosexuality is still considered wrong by many. The article is quite lengthy and covers a lot of ground. However an important paragraph is included here:

    “Let us consider what is in people’s minds when the subject of homosexuality is brought to their attention. I am not talking about the faculty of Harvard University; I am talking about people, including even people who never went to law school (yes! there are such people!) What is in their minds when homosexuality is mentioned? Buggery, that’s what.”

    I recommend reading the full article.

  17. sam says:

    I recommend reading the full article.

    Bug off.

  18. davod says:

    You my be interested in ELISABETH BUMILLER’s February 11, 2010 NYT article “Gay Guardsman Has Returned to Drills With His Unit”.

    “WASHINGTON — In a sign that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy may be weakening under pressure from the White House and the Pentagon’s top leadership, Lt. Dan Choi, who is facing discharge from the New York Army National Guard because he publicly announced that he was gay, took part in a drill last weekend with his Guard unit at what he said was the encouragement of his commander.”

    “…Lieutenant Choi’s commander, identified by the New York Guard as Lt. Col. John Andonie, declined to be interviewed. But a spokesman for the New York Guard confirmed that Lieutenant Choi had participated in the drill and would remain with the unit until he was formally discharged — when, and if, that happens.

    “We do not have an issue with it,” said the spokesman, Lt. Col. Paul Fanning, speaking of Lieutenant Choi’s announcement that he was gay. “It’s a deeply personal thing. To us a soldier is a soldier is a soldier.”

  19. anjin-san says:

    John Derbyshire’s April 25, 2001 article “How Perfectly Disgusting” postulates why homosexuality is still considered wrong by many.

    I’ve lost track of how much stuff I’ve done with women that your average conservative can’t get a date, repressed homophobe would consider wrong. Loved every minute of it Nothing like a little good, clean dirty fun…

  20. Franklin says:

    I recommend reading the full article.

    I read the whole article, and it is often well thought out. He makes one major mistake, however, in thinking that gays “recruit” and “turn young boys”. That’s not what makes people gay, sorry, not even close. We may not know yet for sure if it’s born or bred, but it’s certainly not through recruitment. No boy volunteers himself to a childhood full of teasing and pain.

    The article’s whole point, though, that anal sex (buggery) is unhygienic and disease-spreading seems to totally gloss over the fact that oral and even vaginal sex are but different degrees of the same.

    While the article was well thought-out and mild in its conclusions, it is still not very convincing.

  21. An Interested Party says:

    Actually, Derbyshire’s article tied in with this poll might make a very interesting point…I’m sure it is quite easy for a lot of people to think of homosexuals in the abstract as “dirty” people who engage in “yucky” sex practices…but, presumably, it’s a little different if the gay person in question is your brother, your aunt, or one of your children…

  22. floyd says:

    “Gay Guardsman Has Returned to Drills With His Unit”.

    What ever your opinion of the general subject,Ya just gotta admit… That’s a great headline!

  23. floyd says:

    So…..

    Blood is thicker than principle??

  24. An Interested Party says:

    Blood is thicker than principle??

    Bigotry is a hell of a principle…how do you treat a family member who tells you that he/she is gay?

  25. floyd says:

    I wouldn’t describe bigotry as a principle, but then that would explain many of your comments.
    The answer is that I would treat a gay family member the same as I would treat a non-family member who was gay.
    I don’t happen to have any family members who are openly gay, but I do have a few acquaintances who are.
    BTW, Is it your bigotry that would lead you to treat a non-family member more harshly than a relative, or is there a principle involved that would justify such actions.