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Hunter Poll Finds Clinton Has Support of 63% of LGB Likely Voters

Hunter College in New York has just released the following poll:

In the first public, political survey ever conducted by a university-based team of scholars with a nationally representative sample of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGBs) Americans, results released today show that Senator Hillary Clinton has the support of 63 percent of LGB likely voters in the Democratic primaries, followed by Senator Barack Obama with 22 percent and John Edwards with 7 percent.  The Hunter College Poll also finds that during the process of “coming out,” LGBs become more liberal and more engaged in the political process than the general population. 

“We found a stunning transformation in political views in the LGB community of a magnitude that is virtually unparalleled among social groupings in the U.S. population,” said political science professor Kenneth Sherrill of Hunter College, one of the study’s investigators.  The Hunter College Poll was conducted with 768 respondents by Knowledge Networks, Inc. from November 15th through November 26th, 2007.

Other findings include:

Nine in 10 LGB likely voters will vote in the Democratic primaries and 21 percent say that lesbian and gay rights will be the most important issue influencing their vote in 2008.

72 percent of LGB likely voters consider Senator Clinton a supporter of gay rights, with Senator Obama at 52 percent and former Senator Edwards at 41 percent.  On the Republican side, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was at 37 percent, followed by Senator John McCain at 13 percent. 

“These findings suggest opportunities.  Clinton benefits from a high turnout in this very Democratic bloc; her opponents would benefit from making their stated support for gay rights more visible to LGB voters,” said Murray Edelman, a distinguished scholar at Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute and one of the study’s investigators.

33 percent of all respondents say they are “very interested” in politics compared to 22 percent of the Knowledge Networks general population sample.  And 36 percent said they became more interested in politics during their “coming out” period.

LGBs were more likely than the general population to have contacted a government official in the past 12 months (23 percent to 16 percent).

“These levels of civic engagement indicate that gay people can have a bigger influence on public policy than suggested by their relatively small share of the population,” said Patrick J. Egan, an assistant professor at New York University and another of the study’s investigators.

Asked what gay rights goals are “extremely important,” LGBs chose:

goal

% saying goal is “extremely important”

enacting employment non-discrimination laws

59%

protections from bias crimes

59%

securing spousal benefits

58%

AIDS funding

53%

legalizing same-sex marriage

50%

rights of transgendered people

36%

ending the military’s ban on being openly gay

36%

“The top priorities for LGBs bear little resemblance to the debates that have dominated the headlines,” said Egan.

When asked about the proposed federal law making it illegal to discriminate against lesbians, gays, and bisexuals in employment, LGBs (by a margin of 60 to 37 percent) said that those seeking to pass the law were wrong to remove protections for transgendered people in order to get the votes necessary for passage in Congress.

The Hunter College Poll was funded by a grant from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.  Sole control over the design of the study’s questionnaire and analysis of the data were maintained by the study’s investigators.  The survey was conducted among those who identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual to Knowledge Networks, which recruits its nationally representative sample of respondents by telephone and administers surveys to them via the Internet.  The survey has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.

For more poll results, click here

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