Majority favor gays in the military, new poll says
Updated 2:14 p.m. ET
Two-thirds of Americans support allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, according to a new poll released Wednesday.
Sixty seven percent of respondents to a new CNN survey favor permitting openly gay or lesbian people to serve in the military; 28 percent of respondents were opposed. Support for repealing the law dropped 2 points since a similar CNN poll in February.
(Note/Remember: CNN asked "Do you favor or oppose permitting people who are openly gay or lesbian to serve in the military?" That's very different than asking whether respondents favor/oppose repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" law. So if you see groups in favor of or opposed to ending the ban twisting these numbers to their advantage, carefully check how they characterize the new numbers.)
Support for repeal cuts across gender, age groups, income levels, geographic location and political persuasions. Depending on how respondents identified themselves, 80 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents, 51 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of conservatives, 80 percent of liberals and 78 percent of people who considered themselves "moderate" in the survey approve of gays in the military. A majority of respondents who are tea party supporters and a majority of those opposed to the tea party also support them.
Two-thirds of respondents to a February Washington Post/ABC News poll also supported openly gay people serving in the U.S. military.
But the Senate last week delayed an up or down vote on repealing the law known as "don't ask, don't tell" when Republicans blocked attempts to begin debate on the annual Defense policy bill. The House repealed the gay ban in May by passing its version of the Defense bill. Senate Democrats anticipate reconsideration of the bill will occur after the midterm elections.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, who supports repeal, told reporters Wednesday that he hopes the Senate waits to vote again until after a Pentagon study of how the military would repeal the law is submitted to President Obama in December.
"If I could pick, and I can't, the way this would happen, I would like to finish the review and have the review then inform the legislative process," Mullen told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "I'm not in charge of the legislative process. It has, and I have said this many times, it is very difficult to predict that and it is really up to Congress to move that through."
The CNN survey of 1,010 adult Americans was conducted Sept. 21 to 23 and has a 3 percent margin of error, the network said.
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