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New military survey on DADT

Timothy Kincaid

March 17th, 2010

In February, Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint, on behalf of Vet Voice Foundation, conducted a telephone survey of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

The methodology appears to be fairly decent, though the margin of error is a bit large.

Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint designed and administered this survey, which was conducted by phone using professional interviewers. The survey reached a total of 510 veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and/or Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). The survey was conducted February 8-23, 2010. Telephone numbers for the sample were generated randomly from a military sample and a radius sample drawn from military bases in the United States. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 4.4 percentage points.

But I do have some concerns about the demographic breakdown. As best I can tell, it does not appear to be representative of the military as a whole. It appears to over-represent white, male, and more highly educated personnel than what I’ve been able to identify as reflective of those serving. Nevertheless, it adds to the conversation.

This sample was:

45% Republican (or leaning) v. 20% Democrat (or leaning)
19% High school education, with 44% college graduate or post graduate
79% married
36% evangelical Christian
69% white, 16% black
58% think there were gay people in their most recent unit

Of this sample,

  • 60% agree and 29% disagree with “Being gay or lesbian has little bearing on a service member’s ability to perform their duties.” This may be skewed by two lead up questions asking about race and gender having bearing.
  • 73% are comfortable (37% very) and 23% are uncomfortable (7% very) “in the presence of gays and lesbians?”
  • 34% favor (24% very); 36% oppose (29% very); and 30% aren’t sure about “allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military”
  • When asked to “describe your personal opinion if gay and lesbian people were allowed to serve openly in the military”, 73% said it would be acceptable (though 31% wouldn’t like it) and 25% said it would be unacceptable.

They also measured by age and found that “younger veterans lean toward favoring allowing gay men and lesbian women to serve openly while older veterans lean toward opposing the change, but there is little intensity in either direction.”

While I am not sure that this accurately reflects the views of our military, it does add to the growing recognition that soldiers care a lot less about the sexual orientation of their fellows than do Senators or Pentagon officials.

Comments

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Mario
March 17th, 2010 | LINK

“and a radius sample drawn from military bases in the United States”? What about the 50% of the military made up of National Guard and Reserve personnel that don’t live anywhere near a military base?

Elliot
March 18th, 2010 | LINK

Reservists and National Guard personnel are sort of considered second class in the military.

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