Three-quarters of Americans say that they support openly gay people serving in the U.S. military, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a finding that could lend momentum to the Obama administration's effort to dismantle the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell."
The level of public support for allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly far outpaces that in the spring of 1993, when Congress and the Clinton administration established the policy ...
The percentage of Americans who say they support gays openly serving is the same as a Post-ABC News poll found in July 2008; both are far above the 44 percent who said so in May 1993. In the new poll, majorities across party lines favor such a policy, with support among Democrats (82 percent) and independents (77 percent) higher than among Republicans (64 percent).
The poll also reveals several sharp demographic divides. Men (65 percent) and seniors (69 percent) are far less likely than are women (84 percent) and young adults (81 percent under age 30) to say that gays should be allowed to serve if they have disclosed their sexual orientation. Knowing a gay person makes a big difference: Among those who say they have a gay friend or family member, 81 percent support allowing gay people to serve openly, compared with 66 percent who say they do not know someone who is gay.
There's an even more surprising (and positive) separate poll finding:
According to the Quinnipiac University poll ... 66 percent, describe the policy as discrimination.
“By a solid margin, American voters say go ahead and allow gays to openly serve in the military,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Voters think 2-1 that keeping gays from serving is discrimination. But they are much more mixed on exactly how the transformation of the military will occur and how the Pentagon should adjust to the needs of gay soldiers, sailors and Marines.”