Everyone's talking about this CBS poll, which shows that people are more amenable to gays than homosexuals:
I saw the 57% number earlier this week and wondered if it was just an out-lier; polling I've been seeing for a while now usually shows more public support for DADT than that. I googled a few other recent, major, national surveys on DADT and I have to say that there isn't enough evidence based on DADT polling to point to a huge difference between the words "homosexual" and "gay." And I'm saying that as someone who prefers the term "gay" mainly because "homosexual" has such a bad feel to it, how I imagine the word "queer" would rub gays of a certain generation.
Just today, The Washington Post came out with data, using the word "homosexual" that showed support for repeal at about the same level as CBS's "gay" data:
29. Changing topics, do you think homosexuals who do NOT publicly disclose their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the military or not?
30. Do you think homosexuals who DO publicly disclose their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the military or not?
Just to disprove the trend a little more, here's a Quinnipiac poll from 2009 (of registered voters, other polls above just talked to "Americans") that used the word "gay" and came up with lower results:
27. Federal law currently prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the military. Do you think this law should be repealed or not?
But there here's a Gallup poll from last year (using the word "gay," no screening for registered voters) that showed higher support:
CNN also had a major poll on DADT that they reported last month, but I can't find raw data online:
Public opinion appears to be shifting on the matter. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted December 19-21 found that 81 percent of respondents believe openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, while 17 percent said they shouldn't. The poll's margin of error was plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.
I suppose it goes to show that people don't really know what to think when it comes to DADT. Or that they don't particularly care. Polling done back-to-back like this regarding presidential candidates or other policies doesn't show this kind of fluctuation, so I'm guessing there's a good third of people who decide what they think about DADT while they're on the phone with a pollster.
Either that or there's something different about each of these polls that I'm just not seeing, something other than the word "homosexual" or "gay."