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Senior Citizen Politics

Senior Citizens Not In Step with Majority of Americans Wanting Homosexuality Accepted

Pew Research finds seniors also don't like the idea of gays and lesbians raising children

Should homosexuality be accepted
by Society (%)

 

Accepted

Discouraged

Adults

58

33

18-29

69

26

30-49

59

32

50-64

55

37

65+

47

42

May 16, 2011 - A majority of Americans (58%) say homosexuality should be accepted by society and only about a third (35%) think gays and lesbians raising children is a bad thing for society. Senior citizens, however, skew the results as the only adult age group with less than a majority for accepting homosexuality and a massive 62% don’t think it is good for homosexuals to raise children, reports the Pew Recent Center.

A pattern in this survey looks much like is seen in other polling on social issues – the younger people, best educated and Democrats favor emerging changes in society, while senior citizens, the least educated and Republicans drag their feet.

 

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It is interesting to note, however, that on the issue of gays and lesbians raising children, Republicans and senior citizens made gigantic shifts from their negative views expressed in 2007.

“Among younger people in particular, there is broad support for societal acceptance of homosexuality,” according to the Pew analysis. “More than six-in-ten (63%) of those younger than age 50 -- 69% of those younger than age 30 -- say that homosexuality should be accepted. Far fewer of those ages 50 and older (52%) favor societal acceptance of homosexuality.”

The survey, conducted in February and March of this year, and released this month shows that opposition to gay marriage has continued to decline.

“Currently, 45% favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally while 46% are opposed. Two years ago, in April 2009, 35% supported same-sex marriage while 54% were opposed,” the report says.

Should homosexuality be accepted by Society (%)

 

Accepted

Discouraged

Neither/DK

Total

58

33

8

Age 18-29

69

26

5

Age 30-49

59

32

9

Age 50-64

55

37

8

Age 65+

47

42

12

College grad+

67

26

3

Some college

62

28

3

HS or less

51

40

2

Democrat

67

25

7

Independent

63

28

9

Republican

40

53

8

 

 

 

 

Impact of More Gay, Lesbian Couples Raising Children
Percent saying bad thing for society

 

2007

2011

Change

Total

50

35

-15

Age 18-29

47

28

-19

Age 30-49

44

35

-9

Age 50-64

52

46

-17

Age 65+

62

42

-16

College grad+

42

25

-17

Some college

45

34

-11

HS or less

56

42

-14

Republican

70

53

-17

Independent

41

3-

-11

Democrat

39

28

-11

“Opposition to gay marriage has fallen by 19 points (from 65%) since 1996. (For more on changing public views of same-sex marriage, see Pew Research Center reports from March 3, 2011 and Oct. 6, 2010.)

“The political typology survey also found a decline in negative views of the increasing number of gays and lesbians raising children. Today, 35% say that more gay parents is bad for society, 14% view this trend positively, while 48% say it does not make much difference. Four years ago, 50% viewed this trend negatively, 11% said it was a good thing and 34% said it made no difference.”

Gay Issues Still Politically Divisive

Pew found that majorities across most demographic groups say that homosexuality should be accepted by society. But there are wide political and religious differences in opinions on this measure. Two-thirds of Democrats (67%) and 63% of independents say that homosexuality should be accepted, compared with 40% of Republicans.

“Among religious groups, substantial majorities of the religiously unaffiliated (79%), white Catholics (66%) and white mainline Protestants (65%) say that homosexuality should be accepted. However, just 29% of white evangelical Protestants agree, while more than twice as many (63%) say homosexuality should be discouraged by society,” Pew says.

“There also are gender and racial differences: More women than men favor societal acceptance of homosexuality (64% vs. 52%). Hispanics (64%) and whites (58%) are more supportive of this than are African Americans (49%).

Gay Parenting Viewed Less Negatively

“Since 2007, the percentage saying that the increasing number of gay couples raising children is a bad thing has fallen from 50% to 35%. The proportion viewing this trend positively has changed very little (11% then, 14% today). Rather, there has been a substantial increase in the percentage saying it does not make much difference (34% in 2007, 48% today).”

Read the complete analysis

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