One of the issues in this campaign has been that of sexual preference, especially in whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. There's no denying that attitudes toward the LGBT community are changing fast in this country. This is exemplified by a new poll in Maryland, where there is a proposal on the ballot that would allow same sex marriages -- and the proposal looks like it will probably pass. A new Washington Post Poll shows that 52% of the people in that state support same sex marriage, while only about 43% oppose it.
Since this is now a big issue, the Gallup Poll decided to see just where Americans stand on their own sexual preferences. The chart above shows their results. That 3.4% who admit to being LGBT seems a little low to me, but if you add in the number who say they don't know or refused to answer you get a more believable number -- about 7.8%. Frankly, I believe straight people would be quick to claim their heterosexuality, so the DK/Refused category is probably mostly LGBT people who are not yet ready to leave the closet.
One thing that does not surprise me at all is the demographic breakdown by age. It shows a significantly higher percentage among the 18 to 29 group admitting to a same-sex preference. These young people have grown up in a far different and more tolerant world than older age groups. They don't see homosexuality as an evil, like many of their parents and grandparents. And they are therefore more willing to experiment sexually, and to be more open and honest about their sexual preference. Here is the age demographic chart from the poll:
One thing that did surprise me a bit was the income demographip. It seems that significantly more people making less than $60,000 a year have a same-sex preference than those making more than that (and that percentage jumps sharply when you consider only people making less than $24,000). Maybe these people feel they have less to lose by being more open and honest about their sexuality. Here is the income demographic:
And then there is the demographic that should surprise no one -- the political demographic. The Republican Party has been vicious in their attitude toward the LGBT community, so it just makes sense that most of the people in the LGBT community identify themselves as either Democrats or Independents. Personally, I'm surprised the Republicans have any support at all from LGBT voters (who support President Obama by more than 71%). Here is the political demographic:
It has been generally thought that the LGBT community makes up approximately 10% of the American population. I still believe that. I think that a percentage point or two should be added to the 7.8% previously discussed -- to account for those individuals who, who through either fear of community disapproval or self-denial, classify themselves as heterosexual (but who are really gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual). I could be wrong, but that's what I think. What do you think?
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