"Americans perceive that there is a large U.S. gay population -- one far larger than is likely reality," Gallup reports. "Perhaps more informative than the exact figure Americans give is the trend that more Americans now than in 2002 feel they have enough information offer an estimate. This suggests Americans have had even more exposure to gays and lesbians, be it in their personal lives or through entertainment or other means."
The Gallup study also states that "Americans with lower incomes and less education give the highest estimates, on average, of the U.S. gay and lesbian population, and far higher estimates than those with higher incomes and more education. Americans aged 18 to 29 give a higher average estimate than older Americans, and women give a far higher average estimate than men."
"It is also noteworthy that demographics appear in most cases to be more predictive of views in this matter than are political or ideological leanings. This suggests Americans' estimates are based more on who they are -- and perhaps whom they know -- than on their worldview."
That worldview no doubt includes Americans' beliefs about the origins of homosexuality. Thursday The New Civil Rights Movement reported that only 40% of Americans believe people are born homosexual, while 42% believe it is relatedÂ upbringing and environment."
Today's study notes that "Gallup also previously foundÂ those who personally know someone gay or lesbian to be more accepting on related issues. Combined with Americans' recordÂ support for legal gay relations andÂ same-sex marriage, it is clear that America's gay population -- no matter the size -- is becoming a larger part of America's mainstream consciousness."