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New Poll On Gays In The Military: Strong Support Despite Mixed Signals From Obama

by Tanya Domi on October 21, 2010

in Civil Rights,Politics,Polling

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CBS News released an opinion poll last evening on gays and lesbians in the U.S. military that reflects strong support among Democrats and Independents to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and permit open service by gays, enabling them to speak freely about their sexual orientation and personal relationships while serving in uniform.

Women overwhelmingly support repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and open service by gays and lesbians, with sixty-three percent, leading men by fourteen points.  Democrats strongly support open service by sixty-five percent, with Independents registering at fifty-five percent.

The poll’s results were announced during a flurry of official activity by the Obama Administration, which had successfully obtained a temporary stay from the 9th Circuit Appeals Court, after being ordered to stop enforcement of DADT by Federal Judge Virginia Phillips on October 11.

The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that its recruiting stations would accept enlistments from openly gay and lesbian applicants, spurring former 1LT. Dan Choi to enlist in the U.S. Army at a Times Square recruitment station amid a media frenzy in mid-town New York City.

Nearly seven in ten respondents believe that gays and lesbians should be able to serve in the military.  CBS polling data from earlier this year show similar majorities and also appears to track similarly to 2010 Gallup polling, albeit CBS data tracks a bit lower.

A smaller majority–fifty-six percent– of Americans think gays and lesbians should be allowed to openly serve, thus nullifying the DADT policy, which became law in 1993.   Although this percentage is down eight points since August, support remains solid with the American public, despite an unfinished debate in Congress and against a backdrop of the administration which continues to defend the DADT law in federal court. President Obama publicly insists the law must be repealed by Congress, rationalizing his administration’s actions seeking continued stays of Judge Phillips original injunction.

Republicans are statistically tied with forty-four percent supporting open service and forty-five percent opposed–more or less a wash, as a demographic group.



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