February 12, 2010
GOP's loyal opposition to DADT repeal
Posted by: Chris
THREE UPDATES: at the end of the post.
Nate Silver notes that opposition among Republicans to repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell has stiffened, even as overall public opinion remains strongly in favor of President Obama's pledge made in the State of the Union Address. His graph shows the percentage of Republicans only in favor of allowing gays to serve openly in the military.
Silver attributes most of the difference in the results to question wording and polling methodology, and certainly on those points we have to defer to his judgment.
But I also bet that at least some portion of the decrease in GOP support for repealing DADT springs from nothing other than President Obama's public pledge to do away with the policy. For way too many Republicans, backing by Obama is all they need to know to join his opposition.
UPDATE: A CBS News/New York Times survey confirms broad support for repealing DADT. The margin favoring allowing gays to serve in the military is 70% to 19%. Among that 70%, the percentage backing service by openly gay soldiers and sailors stands at 58% to 9%.
UPDATE: Politico's Ben Smith points out that even within the CBS News/New York Times, there is substantial disparity, based in large part on whether the DADT question was asked concerning "homosexuals" or "gay men and lesbians." Not surprisingly, "gay men and lesbians" polls better, adding to the total that "strongly favor" allowing gays to serve openly:
UPDATE: A Washington Post/ABC News poll shows even stronger support -- 75% of Americans -- for repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell. Not surprisingly, men, the elderly and conservatives are less supportive, as is knowing someone who is gay:
The percentage of Americans who say they support gays openly serving is … 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.
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