Military Times Poll
Military Times Polls of Active-Duty Subscriber/Respondents Show Support for Law
The 2008 Military Times Poll released early in 2009 found for the fourth year in a row that approximately 58% of active-duty respondents were opposed to efforts to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.” The catchphrase incorrectly labels the 1993 law, Section 654, Title 10, which clearly states that homosexuals are not eligible to be in the military.
In 2008 the Military Times, which favors repeal of the law, asked a new survey question that drew astonishing results: “If the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy is overturned and gays are allowed to serve openly, how would you respond?” The Military Times news story emphasized that 71% of respondents said they would continue to serve. But almost 10% said “I would not re-enlist or extend my service,” and 14% said “I would consider not re-enlisting or extending my service.” Only 6% expressed “No Opinion.”
If the opinions of Reserve and National Guard troops are similar to those of active-duty personnel surveyed in the Military Times Poll, and if the survey’s findings approximate the number of military people who would not reenlist or would consider ending their careers if the 1993 law is repealed, combined losses in all military communities would be huge and devastating for the volunteer force.
A rough estimate using Defense Department numbers for all service branches and components, totaling more than 2 million, indicates that a loss of one in ten (almost 10%) would cost the military approximately 228,600 people — more than the active-duty Marine Corps (200,000).
If an additional 14% decided to leave, the voluntary exodus would translate into a loss of almost 527,000 — a figure approaching the size of today’s active-duty Army (more than 545,000).
Estimates of losses in active-duty forces alone would range between 141,000 (10%) and 323,000 (23%).
Losing almost a quarter of the volunteer force, or even a few thousand careerists in grades and skills that are not quickly or easily replaceable, would be devastating to the All-Volunteer Force.
The CMR Analysis posted above also revealed flaws in a 2006 poll conducted by Zogby International and paid for by the activist Michael D. Palm Center, formerly named the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, which promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) causes from its base at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
As CMR noted at the time, the Zogby news release used classic PR strategy in highlighting an innocuous question, “Are you comfortable interacting with gay people?” Of those responding, 73% said they were. The news release did not mention the key question asked of survey respondents: “Do you agree or disagree with allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military?”
On that question, 26% of respondents agreed, but 37% disagreed. The poll also found that 32% of respondents were “Neutral,” and only 5% said they were “Not sure.” (See Question 12 on page 14 of the Zogby/CSSMM Final Report, posted here.)
The 26% of respondents who wanted the law repealed compared unfavorably with the combined 69% of people who were opposed or neutral on repeal. This was hardly a mandate for radical change, but the Palm Center still promotes its self-sponsored Zogby Poll as if it were.
The Palm Center issued a January 13, 2009, news release objecting to an annual survey done by the Gannett-owned Military Times. The widely-read liberal newspaper supports the Center’s cause, but the results of its annual poll seeking the opinions of active-duty subscriber/respondents on the issue of gays in the military turned the Palm Center purple. For the following reasons, their criticisms were not valid.
CMR Analysis: Poll on Gays in the Military Perturbs Palm Center
Apparently in response to the Palm Center’s criticisms, the Military Times survey for 2009 employed different methodology and consulted with Dr. Laura Miller of the RAND Corporation, who has been associated with the Palm Center, as one of their survey consultants. Unlike previous surveys, the 2009 version was done in two sections, with special efforts made to seek and record the views of younger respondents, including those who might be homosexual.
Responses in the 2009 survey still showed a majority of active-duty respondents in support of current law (51%), and registered strong opposition to specific proposals for implementation, such as sharing private facilities and showers with homosexual persons. Only 30% said they would be “comfortable” sharing showers with “openly gay” servicemembers, while 58% said they would be “uncomfortable.” (Navy Times, Feb. 15, 2020, p. 13)
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