Half of (967 Polled) Americans Would Support Gay President

A CBS News poll from this week shows that a majority of Americans would be ok with a gay person serving on the US Supreme Court. Have a gander:

Look we’re sure this is a super scientific random sample, but 309 million people live in the United States. 136.6 million people voted in the 2008 elections. And this poll, conducted by CBS News/Vanity Fair, polled a random sample of 967 adults nationwide, and Vanity Fair sports an occasionally economically conservative, yet consistently socially liberal, audience. [Full disclosure: My Statistics 350 lecture was really early in the morning so I usually slept through it and eventually I took the class pass/fail to avoid my inevitable GPA-tarnishing C.]

Yet somehow these results are making inevitable headlines via the AP, Reuters and etc. Some more nuanced responses:

+ Mediaite: While it’s not the majority, 50% is a pretty high number. So should we celebrate this as a big win for civil rights in America? Well, maybe not. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll recently asked Americans the question “Do you personally think that homosexual relationships between consenting adults is morally wrong, or not a moral issue?” and 48% answered “Morally Wrong”. At first glance, it might seem like a shift in opinion. However, the CNN poll was held only two weeks before the Vanity Fair one (February 12-15 compared to February 26-March 1) and that would be a pretty big shift in the normally glacial-speed progression of civil rights.

+ New York Mag:If Obama gets another chance to put someone on the court (and it looks like he will), he may very well feel more free to pick a more controversial nominee… Of course, the opinion of the majority of people and the opinion that gets most frequently covered by the media aren’t always the same thing. And Christian and far-right-wing so-called “family” groups are sure to go ballistic if there is a real viable gay candidate being considered, drowning out moderates with the volume of their complaints.

+ Queerty: “There is a rumor going around — okay, it’s actually the results of a poll — that some 50 percent of Americans would support an openly gay president. What this poll does not say is whether half of Americans would support an openly gay presidential candidate, during his campaign, because we really freakin’ doubt that. And compare that stat to the same poll concluding 62 percent of Americans saying they’d support an openly gay NFL quarterback, and we begin wondering aloud about whether Americans understand what the term “job qualifications” means.”

Hey maybe that’ll be me one day! JK, that sounds really stressful, and I’ll still be in law school when Obama’s first term ends. But anyway, I’d love to see a gay justice! Also, the Prop 8 trial might wind up in front of the Court in the next few years, which could make this a hot-button issue.

Bill Donohue: the Catholic Church’s problem is about homosexuality: “The Catholic League, always ready to gay-bait along with this Pontiff, has placed an ad in the NYT that makes it clear that if you’re gay, you’re to blame for the criminal sexual behavior by priests, not Benedict and his pals who shuttled the pedophiles around the globe so they could molest and rape other children. “ (@phb)

Search efforts for Mitrice Richardson are being renewed in downtown LA. Richardson disappeared after being released from a Los Angeles police station in September. Police have tracked numerous reported sitings of Richardson, and some church volunteers are now searching LA’s skid row for any signs of the missing woman. (@latimes)

The University of Michigan has elected its first gay student body president, Chris Armstrong. Look how happy he is! It’s because he’s gay, but also probably because he won. (@advocate)

Obama has decided to make some recess appointments while Congress is away. Among his first picks was Chai Feldblum, a lesbian activist and Georgetown University Law Professor. She will serve as commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (@passport)

If you, like us, tuned in last Monday eagerly to see what Jon Stewart had to say about health care then you, like us, perhaps freaked out when it was a rerun. Well luckily he is back this week ready to tear everyone a new asshole, which if they are under 26, is now covered under their parents’ policy.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Health Care Slime Machine
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Health Care Reform

In Defense of Ex-Gays: The People, Not the Predators: We point to scientific and empirical evidence to explain why we are a certain sexual orientation or gender identity. But that’s not why we deserve protection in the workplace — we deserve it because nobody’s job should be at risk simply because of who they choose to love. And that includes ex-gays. (@queerty)

Sarah Palin has finally crossed Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s line of what she considers acceptable political ad campaigning. (@examiner)

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Sarah lives in Chicago with her partner and her big white Great Dane. She is a lawyer by day and a beer brewer/bread baker/knitter by night. She & her partner are currently learning how to grow their own food, and eventually they hope to move to a small farm outside the city. In 2009-2010, before jetting off to law school, Sarah was Autostraddle's Managing Editor.

Sarah has written 127 articles for us.


  1. That post from Queerty made absolutely no sense. I agree with many of the commentators over there. “Ex-gay” isn’t a sexual orientation – heterosexuality is, and who discriminates against heterosexuals?

    Also, I’m going to go with REALLY random sample when it comes to the poll.

    p.s. Gotta love Jon Stewart.

    • I don’t understand how 967 people can represent anything! I slept through Stats, but surely this isn’t how we figure out who is going to win an election or anything.

      • I don’t understand how they stopped at 967? Was 1000 just *too* much more work? Not that 1000 people provides a better sampling, but at least it looks like an official poll number.

      • It reminds me of a like, a Facebook group: “If 1,000,000 people join this group, we’ll let the gays have rights!”

  2. I feel like statistics rarely represent real feelings. When it happens, that’ll be proof enough for me. Also this one is just super random.

    • “I’d make such a good statistic someone should study me now, somebody’s got to be interested in how I feel, just ’cause i’m here, and ’cause i’m real” (ani difranco)

  3. Note to New York Mag: I wouldn’t worry about Obama nominating an openly gay supreme court judge. To do that, he’d have to be supportive of gay rights, and his actions clearly belie that assumption, though his words occasionally support it.

  4. Sure how many people live in America? 30 million or so maybe? Jebus I havent a clue actually but my point is, nice and all as the results are, it’s not really an accurate representation of what the general population of the US really think. Also, I wish I was as happy as Chris Armstrong! Oh, and on the Catholic note, a bishop just went on record to say that gays and other “irregulars” such as criminals shouldnt get funerals, delightful! In fairness I shouldnt really post on Autostraddle drunk,(yes I know it’s a Tuesday night/Wed morn, and what?!) but here I am, hope you are all happy out! :-D

  5. Joy Behar shook Elizabeth Hasselback’s hand? Elizabeth Hasselback…actually said the right thing on that show she’s on? Someone is calling shenanigans on Sarah Palin and her nonsense that isn’t a democrat? What…what happened to my world? Is this the Twilight Zone or something?

    Also, who is that woman hosting with them please tell me, I am so confused yet intrigued by her hair and glasses.

  6. obvs there is a lot of crazy stuff about that poll, but i think queerty pinpoints the weirdest thing: more people would support a gay NFL quarterback than president? no offense gay dudes, but most of you would not make great football players.

    • I think the ridiculous thing about that stat isn’t how many gay dudes would make a good football player (really, how many straight guys do? statistically, it might not be too dissimilar), but that the percentage isn’t MUCH higher. It’d be nice if sports fans at least were more concerned with the team goal – winning – than their own homophobia. I can see homophobes being afraid of gay politicians- they have power at least.

  7. Scripps College, a women’s college in Claremont, CA, just elected its first Transgendered Vice President, so holla at THAT!

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