February 10, 2010 - U.S. Voters Say Gays In Military Should Come Out, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Voters Want Military Trials For Terror Suspects

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Homosexuals should be able to openly serve in the U.S. military, American voters say 57 - 36 percent. Voters also say 66 - 31 percent the current policy of not allowing openly gay men and women to serve is discrimination, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

But by a 54 - 38 percent margin, American voters say gays in the military should face restrictions on exhibiting their sexual orientation on the job, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN- uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Voters from military households with an active or reserve member or a veteran in their family split 48 - 47 percent on ending "don't ask; don't tell." Support for repeal is 72 - 23 percent among Democrats and 56 - 37 percent among independent voters. Republicans oppose repeal 53 - 40 percent. Men support repeal 51 - 44 percent; women support it 62 - 29 percent.

On other related questions, American voters say:
  • 82 - 10 percent that the military should stop pursuing disciplinary action against gays who are outed against their will;
  • 65 - 30 percent, including 57 - 38 percent among voters in military families, that ending "don't ask; don't tell" will not be divisive or hurt the ability to fight effectively;
  • 50 - 43 percent that the Pentagon should not provide for domestic partners of gay personnel;
  • Split 45 - 46 percent on whether heterosexual personnel should be required to share quarters with gay personnel.
"By a solid margin, American voters say go ahead and allow gays to openly serve in the military," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Voters think 2-1 that keeping gays from serving is discrimination. But they are much more mixed on exactly how the transformation of the military will occur and how the Pentagon should adjust to the needs of gay soldiers, sailors and Marines."

"Perhaps surprisingly, there is little difference among age groups on allowing gays to serve openly: 57 percent of those 18 to 34 years old support open service, along with 59 percent of voters 35 to 54 years old and 54 percent of those 55 or older," said Brown.

Terror Trials

American voters say 59 - 35 percent that 9/11 terrorism suspects should be tried in military courts rather than in civilian courts, as currently planned. Voters say 68 - 25 percent that terrorism suspects should not receive all of the constitutional protections afforded by a civilian trial. Democrats prefer civilian courts 48 - 45 percent. Support for military courts is 73 - 23 percent among Republicans and 61 - 33 percent among independent voters.

The suspect who allegedly tried to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day should be tried as an enemy combatant rather than as an ordinary criminal, voters say 76 - 19 percent. But voters approve 52 - 42 percent of the FBI's advice to the suspect of his right to remain silent.

"When it comes to how suspected terrorists should be treated by the American judicial system there is a significant gap between the American people and President Barack Obama," said Brown. "Although they give the President a 49 - 44 percent approval rating on handling terrorism, the devil is in the details. When it comes to his decision to treat suspected terrorists as common criminals deserving of civilian trials rather than as enemy combatants judged by military tribunals they are strongly in the other corner. There is a similar disconnect on the basic question of whether suspected terrorists should have the same rights as ordinary criminals.

"Voters agree, however, with the Obama administration decision to advise the suspect in the Christmas bombing attempt of his right to remain silent."

On another foreign policy matter, support for the war in Afghanistan remains stable and positive. Fifty-six percent of voters say the United States is doing the right thing fighting there, while 37 percent say America should not be there. This compares to 59 - 35 percent support in Quinnipiac University's January 14 survey. Americans approve of Obama's handling of Afghanistan 51 - 39 percent.

From February 2 - 8, Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,617 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 1.9 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling - foreign policy?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              46%    16%    75%    43%    43%    49%    41%    76%    55%
Disapprove           43     73     16     46     47     39     49     12     30
DK/NA                11     11      9     11      9     12     10     11     16
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Approve              49%    47%    43%    47%    46%    49%    44%
Disapprove           41     44     44     41     46     44     53
DK/NA                10      9     13     12      8      7      2
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Approve              44%    54%    26%    33%    47%    53%    42%
Disapprove           44     40     65     56     46     42     48
DK/NA                12      6      8     11      7      5     10
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling foreign policy?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Feb 10  Jan 13  Dec 23  Dec 8   Nov 18  Apr 29  Jan 13
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2009    2009    2010
 
Approve              46      45      46      46      49      57      45
Disapprove           43      46      44      45      42      32      46
DK/NA                11       9      10       9       8      11       9
 
 
8. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling - the situation in Afghanistan?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              51%    38%    65%    49%    53%    50%    49%    67%    49%
Disapprove           39     51     27     42     39     39     42     20     42
DK/NA                10     11      8     10      8     11      9     14      9
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Approve              49%    54%    49%    49%    52%    61%    64%
Disapprove           44     39     37     41     40     34     31
DK/NA                 7      7     14     11      9      5      5
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Approve              48%    60%    40%    47%    51%    58%    49%
Disapprove           41     33     49     43     42     35     43
DK/NA                11      6     11     10      7      7      8
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the situation in Afghanistan?
                     Feb 10  Jan 13  Dec 23  Dec 8   Nov 18  Oct 7
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              51      45      47      45      38      42
Disapprove           39      45      43      45      49      40
DK/NA                10      10      10      11      12      17
 
 
10. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling - terrorism?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              49%    19%    79%    44%    46%    52%    43%    80%    51%
Disapprove           44     72     15     48     49     39     50     12     35
DK/NA                 8      8      6      8      6      9      7      8     14
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Approve              54%    49%    44%    53%    45%    46%    56%
Disapprove           38     45     47     39     48     49     40
DK/NA                 8      6      8      8      6      5      3
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Approve              48%    52%    31%    39%    43%    57%    40%
Disapprove           44     43     63     55     51     39     55
DK/NA                 8      5      6      6      6      4      5
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling terrorism?
                     Feb 10  Jan 13
                     2010    2010
 
Approve              49      48
Disapprove           44      44
DK/NA                 8       8
 
 
19. Do you think the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting the war in Afghanistan now, or should the U.S. not be involved in Afghanistan now?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Right thing          56%    72%    43%    58%    63%    50%    62%    28%    42%
Shouldn't be inv     37     21     51     36     32     41     32     61     50
DK/NA                 7      7      7      6      5      9      6     11      8
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Right thing          47%    63%    55%    48%    66%    69%    60%
Shouldn't be inv     47     33     35     43     30     27     35
DK/NA                 6      4     10      9      4      4      5
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Right thing          52%    66%    65%    66%    58%    62%    62%
Shouldn't be inv     40     29     28     28     36     32     32
DK/NA                 7      5      7      6      6      6      6
 
TREND: Do you think the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting the war in Afghanistan now, or should the U.S. not be involved in Afghanistan now?
                     Feb 10  Jan 14  Dec 23  Dec 8   Nov 18  Oct 7
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Right thing          56      59      51      57      48      52
Shouldn't be inv     37      35      41      35      41      37
DK/NA                 7       6       8       8      11      11
 
 
20. Which do you think is more important - to try 9/11 terror suspects in an open trial in civilian court so the world can see how the American system works or to try 9/11 terror suspects in military courts to better assure security of trials?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Civilian courts      35%    23%    48%    33%    35%    35%    33%    47%    44%
Military courts      59     73     45     61     61     57     62     47     55
DK/NA                 6      5      7      6      5      7      6      6      1
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Civilian courts      43%    33%    31%    40%    31%    29%    35%
Military courts      50     62     61     53     64     66     62
DK/NA                 7      4      8      7      5      5      3
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Civilian courts      36%    32%    26%    28%    29%    33%    29%
Military courts      58     62     68     65     65     59     65
DK/NA                 6      6      6      7      5      8      6
 
 
21. Which do you prefer - to make sure that the 9/11 suspects receive the constitutional protections afforded in a civilian trial or to make sure that the 9/11 suspects are not eligible for all of those constitutional protections by having a military trial?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Receive protections  25%    11%    36%    23%    25%    24%    23%    32%    31%
Not eligible         68     83     56     69     68     67     71     57     60
DK/NA                 8      6      8      8      7      8      7     12      9
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Receive protections  31%    25%    21%    26%    24%    27%    34%
Not eligible         64     70     68     66     72     67     59
DK/NA                 5      6     11      8      4      6      6
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Receive protections  23%    28%    13%    18%    19%    22%    21%
Not eligible         69     64     80     74     74     71     71
DK/NA                 7      8      8      8      7      7      8
 
 
22. Now I would turn to the case involving the man who tried to blow up a commercial airliner on Christmas Day. Do you think the accused Christmas Day attacker should be tried as an enemy combatant or as an ordinary criminal?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Enemy combatant      76%    86%    69%    76%    74%    78%    77%    75%    74%
Ordinary criminal    19     11     26     19     22     16     18     19     20
DK/NA                 5      3      5      5      4      6      4      6      6
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Enemy combatant      74%    77%    77%    76%    77%    77%    72%
Ordinary criminal    19     19     19     20     19     18     25
DK/NA                 6      4      4      5      4      5      2
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Enemy combatant      78%    71%    84%    80%    82%    81%    80%
Ordinary criminal    17     23     13     16     15     16     16
DK/NA                 5      6      3      4      3      3      4
 
 
23. As you may know, the accused Christmas Day attacker was advised of his right to remain silent by the FBI. Do you approve or disapprove of the accused Christmas Day attacker being advised of his right to remain silent?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              52%    43%    63%    50%    50%    54%    51%    61%    55%
Disapprove           42     52     32     45     45     39     44     32     39
DK/NA                 6      6      6      5      4      7      6      7      6
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Approve              65%    56%    39%    54%    55%    50%    64%
Disapprove           31     39     54     41     42     43     35
DK/NA                 4      5      7      6      4      7      1
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Approve              50%    56%    41%    47%    47%    50%    47%
Disapprove           43     39     53     48     48     38     47
DK/NA                 6      5      6      6      5     12      6
 
 
32. Federal law currently prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the military. Do you think this law should be repealed or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes                  57%    40%    72%    56%    51%    62%    58%    51%    61%
No                   36     53     23     37     44     29     36     41     32
DK/NA                 6      7      5      7      5      8      6      8      7
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Yes                  57%    59%    54%    56%    58%    59%    66%
No                   35     36     39     38     36     36     24
DK/NA                 8      5      7      6      6      5     10
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Yes                  54%    67%    41%    49%    63%    63%    48%
No                   40     27     51     45     31     37     47
DK/NA                 7      6      8      6      6      -      5
 
TREND: Federal law currently prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the military. Do you think this law should be repealed or not?
                     Feb 10  Apr 30
                     2010    2009
 
Yes                  57      56
No                   36      37
DK/NA                 6       7
 
 
33. Some people say that not allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military is discrimination. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Agree                66%    50%    80%    65%    58%    73%    65%    75%    69%
Disagree             31     46     18     32     40     23     32     24     28
DK/NA                 3      4      2      3      2      3      3      2      3
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Agree                73%    66%    60%    67%    64%    68%    75%
Disagree             24     32     36     31     34     30     24
DK/NA                 3      2      3      2      2      2      2
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Agree                64%    72%    46%    56%    70%    79%    58%
Disagree             33     25     49     41     28     21     39
DK/NA                 3      3      4      3      3      -      2
 
TREND: Some people say that not allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military is discrimination. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Feb 10  Apr 30
                     2010    2009
 
Agree                66      60
Disagree             31      36
DK/NA                 3       6
 
 
34. Some people say that allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military would be divisive for the troops and hurt their ability to fight effectively. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Agree                30%    44%    17%    31%    38%    23%    31%    25%    29%
Disagree             65     50     81     64     59     71     64     72     68
DK/NA                 5      6      2      5      4      5      5      3      3
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Agree                27%    31%    32%    30%    30%    34%    24%
Disagree             69     65     62     65     67     61     72
DK/NA                 4      4      6      4      3      5      4
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Agree                32%    26%    46%    37%    27%    24%    38%
Disagree             64     70     48     57     69     73     57
DK/NA                 5      4      6      5      5      3      5
 
TREND: Some people say that allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military would be divisive for the troops and hurt their ability to fight effectively. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Feb 10  Apr 30
                     2010    2009
 
Agree                30      35
Disagree             65      58
DK/NA                 5       7
 
 
35. Do you think the military should aggressively pursue disciplinary action against gay service members whose orientation is revealed against their will by third parties or should this practice be ended?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Disciplinary action  10%    15%     6%    10%    13%     7%    10%    10%    16%
End practice         82     74     88     82     78     84     82     83     77
DK/NA                 8     11      6      8      9      8      9      7      8
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Disciplinary action  12%    10%     9%    12%     8%     9%     4%
End practice         80     84     80     78     86     86     95
DK/NA                 8      6     11     10      6      5      1
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Disciplinary action  12%     5%    16%    12%     8%     9%    14%
End practice         79     89     71     78     83     87     78
DK/NA                 9      6     13     10      9      4      8
 
 
36. Do you think gay military personnel should face any restrictions on exhibiting their sexual orientation on the job or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes/Restrictions     54%    65%    41%    58%    57%    51%    57%    46%    47%
No restrictions      38     26     53     35     37     40     35     49     48
DK/NA                 8      9      6      8      6      9      8      5      5
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Yes/Restrictions     44%    58%    57%    53%    57%    59%    47%
No restrictions      48     36     34     40     36     35     50
DK/NA                 7      6      9      7      7      7      3
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Yes/Restrictions     54%    54%    67%    65%    49%    55%    59%
No restrictions      38     39     25     27     42     37     33
DK/NA                 8      7      9      9      8      8      8
 
 
37. Do you think the Pentagon should be responsible to provide for the domestic partners of gay personnel or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes/Provide          43%    27%    59%    40%    40%    46%    42%    48%    50%
No/Shldn't provide   50     65     34     53     56     44     51     41     49
DK/NA                 8      8      6      8      5     10      7     11      1
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Yes/Provide          51%    46%    33%    40%    48%    49%    53%
No/Shldn't provide   40     49     59     53     48     44     36
DK/NA                 9      5      8      7      3      7     11
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Yes/Provide          39%    53%    24%    33%    43%    58%    38%
No/Shldn't provide   54     40     67     59     49     40     55
DK/NA                 8      7      9      8      8      2      7
 
 
38. Do you think heterosexual military personnel should be required to share quarters with gay personnel or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes/Required         45%    33%    56%    46%    44%    47%    45%    49%    48%
No/Not required      46     57     39     45     50     43     46     45     50
DK/NA                 8     10      6      9      6     10      8      7      2
 
                                          ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k   >250k
 
Yes/Required         46%    50%    40%    44%    50%    47%    52%
No/Not required      49     43     50     48     43     47     45
DK/NA                 5      7     10      7      7      6      3
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Yes/Required         43%    53%    33%    40%    48%    54%    43%
No/Not required      49     40     59     52     45     41     49
DK/NA                 9      7      9      8      7      5      9