Huffpost Politics

Conservatives Shift In Favor Of Openly Gay Service Members

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A new Gallup poll shows that 69 percent of Americans are now in favor of openly gay men and women serving in the military, up from 63 percent five years ago. Support among liberals and Democrats remains high -- around 86 percent and 83 percent respectively -- but the biggest shift in support occurred among conservatives and Republicans. Fifty-eight percent of people who identify as conservatives say they support gays serving in the military, up from 12 points from 46% in 2004. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans support what is essentially a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

While a majority of Americans still oppose legalizing gay marriage, the shift in support for gays serving in the military "suggests the political playing field may be softer on this issue, and President Barack Obama will be well-positioned to forge ahead with his campaign promise to end the military ban on openly gay service members with some support from more conservative segments of the population," Gallup writes.

Repealing the policy is a promise Obama made on the campaign trail and is one that gay rights groups have recently been more vocal in urging him to fulfill. While the administration to date has not taken action on the issue, the Gallup Poll data indicate that the public-opinion environment favors such a move.

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