Following on the heels of a Boy Scouts of America announcement that the group is reconsidering its longtime ban on gay members, a plurality of Americans say that the Boy Scouts of America should end the ban, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.
According to the new survey, 48 percent of Americans think the Boy Scouts should allow gay members, and only 32 percent say the group should not. Americans who were once members of the Boy Scouts are just as supportive, with 49 percent of former Boy Scouts saying the group should allow gay members and only 36 percent opposed.
Former Boy Scouts were slightly more likely than men overall to support lifting the ban - men overall said they supported the Boy Scouts allowing gay members by a 44 percent to 39 percent margin. Women in the survey supported lifting the ban by a 51 percent to 25 percent margin.
Respondents who had once been members of the Girl Scouts were even more likely to say that the Boy Scouts should allow gay members, with 57 percent of former Girl Scouts saying they should and 23 percent saying they should not. The Girl Scouts have been quicker than the Boy Scouts to embrace LGBT children, including accepting a 7-year-old transgender girl in 2011.
Poll respondents were much more divided over whether the Boy Scouts should allow gay scout leaders -- by a 44 percent to 41 percent margin, respondents were more likely to oppose than support allowing gay Boy Scout leaders. Respondents who had been members of the Boy Scouts were opposed by a 48 percent to 42 percent margin, while men overall were opposed to lifting the ban on gay scout leaders by a 49 percent to 38 percent margin.
Women (44 percent to 39 percent) and former Girl Scouts (51 percent to 36 percent) were more likely to say gay Boy Scout leaders should be a permitted.
Twenty-three percent of respondents to the survey said they had belonged to the Boy Scouts, 20 percent said they had belonged to the Girl Scouts, and 5 percent said they had belonged to some other scouting group. Forty-nine percent of respondents said they had never belonged to any scouting group.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Jan. 31-Feb. 1 among 1,000 U.S. adults. The poll used a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.