Confusing CBS/NYT ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Poll

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Do words confuse you at times?  If you’re presented with two words having literally the same meaning, do you react differently to each?  If you answered ‘yes,’ you wouldn’t be alone.

According to a new CBS News/ New York Times Poll, the future of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy of prohibiting open military service by gays and lesbians may well rest on the choice of a couple of words, with one preferred over the other.

Kirk Walters, Toledo Blade, Buy this cartoon

This confusion in the public’s mind is contributing to a different set of numbers according to a new poll when, in reality, there ought not to be such an obvious difference.

The two terms in question in this poll are “”gay men and lesbians” vs “homosexuals”

As the Obama administration proposes repealing the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a new New York Times/CBS News poll finds that a majority of the public support allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military.

There’s less support, however, for allowing homosexuals to serve openly.


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David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Daily Star, Buy this cartoon

The poll results reveal the following, with a majority supporting members of the gay and lesbian communities to serve in the military, no matter how the question is framed — 59% vs 70%

A new CBS News/ New York Times poll finds that the wording of the question is key when it comes to determining whether Americans support allowing gays to serve in the military…

But the numbers differ when the question is changed to whether Americans support “gay men and lesbians” serving in the military.  When the question is asked that way, 70 percent of Americans say they support gay men and lesbians serving in the military, including 19 percent who say they somewhat favor it.  Seven percent somewhat oppose it, and 12 percent strongly oppose it.

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When the same question is asked and the word “openly” is added to the mix, support diminishes quite a bit

The poll further shows that public attitudes have changed significantly since the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was implemented under the Clinton Administration in 1993.  

It is time to end this discriminatory policy.

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Complete Poll Results

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,084 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone February 5-10, 2010. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.

Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News, Buy this cartoon

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  1. … a boot camp for homophobes, be they in the military or in civilian life, may be needed to end this ridiculous policy.

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    RJ Matson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Buy this cartoon

    • TMC on February 14, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Pollsters do it all the time. Lucky Truman didn’t take a poll about integrating the military.

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