Pew: strong support for DADT repeal

Timothy Kincaid

November 29th, 2010

The Pew Forum released a poll today which continues to document the public’s support for repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

As the Pentagon prepares to release its highly anticipated survey of military personnel about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, most Americans (58%) say they favor allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces. Fewer than half that number (27%) oppose allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly.

That is a fairly static statistic, with little change over the past five years. And, as has been the case for years, support for repeal is broad with strong Democrat support and nearly as many Republicans favoring repeal as opposing it.

It is sad to see politicians pandering to a subset of a demographic to continue discrimination that is not wanted by the American people.

Chris McCoy

November 29th, 2010

Is it really any surprise to whom politicians are pandering?

Republican – 40%
65+ – 44%
White evangelical – 34%
Attend church weekly or more – 40%

Chris McCoy

November 29th, 2010

Among all Republicans and Republican leaners, those who agree with the Tea Party are less supportive of allowing gays to serve openly than are those who disagree with the Tea Party or have no opinion of the movement.

Only about four-in-ten (38%) Republicans and Republican leaners who agree with the Tea Party favor allowing gays to serve openly while 48% are opposed. Among those who disagree with the Tea Party or have no opinion of the movement, 52% favor letting gays serve openly and just 30% are opposed.


November 29th, 2010

The thing that Republican senators know, is that the majority of Republicans who are against repeal will be angry enough at a GOP senator who votes for it to vote against him or her in the primaries. And in a general election, Independents aren’t likely to base their vote on whether or not the GOP candidate voted for repeal, even if they’re personally against DADT. That’s why I suspect Lindsay Graham is correct when he says all the GOP senators will vote against repeal. There’s no upside to voting for repeal, and they will almost certainly face an angry Tea Party challenge in their next primary.


November 29th, 2010

…and the Senator McCain this poll means absolutely nothing.


November 29th, 2010

Only one group has a majority in opposition to repeal: conservative Republicans at 52%. For this group, even the minority that favors repeal, 28%, is attenuated by a large number of don’t knows: 19%. Moderate and liberal Republicans together are 62% in favor.

White evangelicals have 48% opposed, a relatively high number though not a majority. As with conservative Republicans, many respondents say they don’t know: 17%.

Outside conservative Republicans and white evangelicals, no group could be considered to show strong opposition. People who attend church weekly come closest, but they’re evenly divided with an unusually high 21% saying they don’t know. The 65+ age group has only 28% opposed, with an exceptionally high 28% saying they don’t know.

I would like to see results for conservatives as a group, as opposed to just conservative Republicans. My guess is that any really strong opposition will be found there. I’d also like to see the results broken down into “strongly favor,” “somewhat favor,” and so on.

In any case, the Republicans in congress must be pandering to their conservative base, which includes many white evangelicals. It’s strange, because you’d think they’d want to broaden their appeal. A few might start doing that by voting to repeal DADT.

They could also be trying to keep the Democrats from getting anything done. We’ll know more after the upcoming vote.

The large “don’t know” groups suggest to me that a lot of people are conflicted. Some of the respondents who are most prejudiced against gay people may also have the highest regard for those who are willing to fight and possibly die for their country.


November 30th, 2010

McCain is at least ahead of his colleagues in disdaining public opinion on this issue.
With the tide turning against them, opponents of gay marriage will soon have to give up on the “right of the people to vote” rhetoric and switch to “marriage is a sacrament that transcends politics and should not be put to a vote”.

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