Bi-Partisan Poll of Iraq & Afghanistan Vets



 To:    Vet Voice Foundation
 From:   Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint, Inc.
 Re:  Results From Recent Research among Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans on Don't Ask, Don't Tell*
 Date:    March 15, 2010

A recent survey conducted among military personnel who served in the Afghanistan or Iraq wars shows that by six points Iraq and Afghanistan veterans under age 35 lean toward favoring allowing gay and lesbian people to serve openly (41% favor to 35% oppose) while veterans over age 35 lean toward opposing by five points (31% favor, 36% oppose).  This recent bipartisan survey, conducted among service members in the United States, in many ways runs counter to the idea being asserted by many, that service members and the military cannot handle this change and are unwilling to do so,  There is widespread agreement among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans on three core principles: that veterans are comfortable around gay and lesbian people, that being gay or lesbian has no bearing on a service members' ability to perform their duties, and that, ultimately, these veterans would find it acceptable if gay and lesbian people were allowed to serve openly. 

As mentioned, younger veterans lean toward favoring allowing gay men and lesbian women to serve openly while older veterans lean toward opposing the change, but there is little intensity in either direction.  It is just simply not a burning issue that overwhelms these veterans' lives.  Thirty-four percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans favor allowing openly gay and lesbian women to serve in the military, 36% oppose it, and another third (30%) are not sure (28%) or do not know (2%).  A quarter is strongly in favor of allowing gay and lesbian people to serve, and 29% are strongly opposed.  By six points, veterans under age 35 favor open service (41% favor, 35% oppose) including 28% who strongly favor it; while by a similar five points, veterans over age 35 oppose it (31% favor, 36% oppose).  By twelve points veterans in the Air Force favor allowing gay and lesbian people to serve openly, while those in the Navy (+1) and Army (-4) split.  Veterans from the Marines are against it (-17). 

In summary, an overwhelming majority of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are comfortable around gay and lesbian people, believe that being gay or lesbian has no bearing on a service member's ability to perform their duties, and would find it acceptable if gay and lesbian people were allowed to serve openly in the military.  Any notion that ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell would disrupt the military or that service members would be unwilling to meet the change is debunked. 

View the poll (PDF) here


* Methods:  Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint designed and administered this survey, which was conducted by phone using professional interviewers.  The survey reached a total of 510 veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and/or Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).   The survey was conducted February 8-23, 2010.  Telephone numbers for the sample were generated randomly from a military sample and a radius sample drawn from military bases in the United States.  The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 4.4 percentage points.

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