Eye-Popping Number Show That Americans Are Dead Wrong

According to the revealing findings of a recent Gallup survey, Americans are woefully misinformed regarding the percentage of their fellow citizens who describe themselves as gay or lesbian. Overall, those polled believe roughly one in four Americans belongs in that category.

A full third of all respondents believe that number is higher than 25 percent, while two in 10 think it falls between 20 and 25 percent. Fewer than one in 10 think less than five percent of Americans identify as gay or lesbian – which happens to be the correct category.

Gallup asked respondents in more than 58,000 interviews whether they personally “identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” a question that garnered an affirmative answer from just 3.8 percent of the sample group. While variants in polling methodology can lead to different results, Gallup reported it is convinced most Americans far overestimate the number of homosexuals living in the nation.

Though estimates vary regarding the precise percentage, Gallup’s report stated that “all available estimates of the actual gay and lesbian population in the U.S. are far lower than what the public estimates, and no measurement procedure has produced any figures suggesting that more than one out of five Americans are gay or lesbian.”

Separating responses based on demographic characteristics indicates certain groups – young adults, women, and those with less education – are more likely to give a wildly inflated response. Among those age 18 to 29, the mean estimate is more than seven times the actual percentage of gays and lesbians in America. The same result can be found among respondents with a high school education or less. With a mean estimate of 27 percent, women think homosexuals make up far more of the population than men, who believe the number is closer to 19 percent.

Gallup offered some insight into the potential cause of confusion, which it concluded could be due to “prominent media portrayals of gay characters on television and in movies” as well as “the high visibility of activists who have pushed gay causes, particularly legalizing same-sex marriage.”

Such factors might have had less influence than a review of the latest survey results might suggest, however. Gallup polling data as far back as 2002 indicate Americans shared similarly inflated estimates regarding the percentage of gay and lesbian Americans even then.


Source: www.westernjournalism.com

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