Plus: 2 out of 10 Americans view gays more favorably than they did 10 years ago

Anti-Gay Legislation Won Because of Politics, Not Attitudes (Says GLAAD)

QUEERTY REPORTS — “The losses we suffered are political, which are not as predictable as poll results are– or as manageable”, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Neil Giuliano told Queerty this afternoon after the release of a GLAAD-commissioned Harris Interactive survey that showed widespread support for gay & lesbian rights and issues across a variety of demographics.

The telephone survey, which reached a little over 2,000 Americans after the election last month, showed that three out of four Americans support either civil unions or marriages for gays and lesbians and that for the first time, opposition against gay marriage fell below the 50% mark. Support for repealing the military’s Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell policy is even more widespread at 64%, with support in Latino support for overturning the ban especially high. African Americans supported increasing hate crimes legislation to include LGBT people by the widest margin, at 71%. The survey also found that 7 in 10 Americans oppose gay adoption bans.

Giuliano says that GLAAD decided to commission the survey before the election, knowing that there would be pointed reactions no matter what the outcome was. It was the first time the organization commissioned a survey and Giuliano says that the reason the organization stepped into the fray was so that they “could help correct the post-election narrative.”

For Giuliano, the most important revelation found in the survey is that 2 out of every 10 Americans have more favorable views of gays and lesbians then they did five years ago. The study notes that the reasons for this shift include “knowing someone who is gay or lesbian (79%)” and “the fact that laws have been passed to protect gays and lesbians (50%).” Giuliano believes the poll sets a clear course for the gay community and that “It says what’s important is being visible, living honestly and talking to our friends, co-workers and families.”

So why wasn’t the rosy picture painted by the survey reflected in the results of the November election? “It shows the power of negative campaigning against the community…We have to increase our visibility. We have to work with African-American and Latino leaders and enlist more allies. This poll shows we have the opening.”

Giuliano also points to the rapidly shifting attitudes Americans have towards gay marriage. “We’ve made progress on marriage. 47% are for it. 49% are not. That’s the first time in any poll opposition to gay marriage has fallen below the all important 50 + 1 mark.”

Giuliano dismisses the idea that there could be a “gay Bradley effect” at work in the poll; that is, that respondents would be more likely to say they supported gay and lesbians on the phone and then vote against LGBT interests at the voting booth.” “The folks at Harris Interactive have been doing polling for a long time and are known for delivering credible results. The poll has a margin of 2%. I would say these are solid numbers.”

[Full results of the survey are available in PDF form here.]