Our guest blogger is Jeff Krehely, director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
On a press call this morning to announce a new poll commissioned by the Center for American Progress, Stan Greenberg — who was President Bill Clinton’s chief pollster when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) was implemented and has previously stated that the issue of gays serving openly in the military was a major factor in the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 — underscored the significance of public support for repealing DADT:
Frankly, I don’t know of another issue…that you would have thought it was polarizing given its history, but I think people have moved to a different place on tolerance, they’ve moved to a different place on the role of the military…and want to see this policy reversed. … I don’t get many issues on which to speak about [this] kind of historic change.
One of the poll’s most striking findings is that 60 percent of likely voters believe that with the United States in the middle of two wars, the military needs every talented woman and man it can get, regardless of a person’s sexual orientation.
Other key poll findings:
— DADT repeal is not a politically polarizing issue: Among likely voters, 68 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of independents, and 41 percent of Republicans support repeal. What’s more, 56 percent of voters in House battleground districts and 56 percent in Senate battleground states support repeal.
— Surprising groups of people support repeal: 64 percent of Catholics, 61 percent of white married women, and 59 percent of whites aged 50-64 support repeal.
— Voters do not want to defer to the military on DADT: A clear majority — 63 percent — would not change their opinion on DADT repeal even if the U.S. military was opposed to open service by gays and lesbians. This is despite the fact that the poll found the public to hold the U.S. military in very high regard, with a 90 percent favorability rating.