Americans Now Favor 'Don't Ask, Do Tell'

Acceptance of openly gay military enlistees surges to 75%
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2008 8:32 AM CDT
On March 23, 2007, college students took part in a rally on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats say the nation should be ashamed of its ban on openly gay men and lesbians serving in the military.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – In the 15 years since the inception of the US military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay servicemen and women, public opinion on the issue has shifted dramatically. In 1993, 44% of Americans said openly gay people should be allowed to enlist; a Washington Post-ABC News poll now puts that number at 75%.

That new figure breaks down to over 80% of Democrats, three quarters of Independents, and two thirds of conservatives. The jump was especially big in the latter group: In 1993, three quarters of conservatives opposed Clinton's proposal to lift the ban on gay enlistees. Among veterans, 71% say gay people should be allowed to serve, but only half support those who are "out."