CBS News presents a stunning statistic. If you ask Americans if “homosexuals” should be allowed to serve in the military, then 59% say they either strongly or somewhat support it. But if you change the word “homosexual” to “gay men and lesbians”, then the number rises to 70%!
The difference is even greater if you ask if they should be allowed to serve “openly”. If that question uses the word “homosexual”, then only 44% are in favor. But if you change it to “gay men and lesbians” then 58% are in favor.
I guess when it comes to the word “homosexual”, Americans are still in favor of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. But they are only against the word, not against actual gay men or lesbians.
This result also underscores the fact that in public polling, the answer can depend dramatically on how you ask the question.