Do you favor or oppose ___ serving in the military?

Thanks to Language Log for results of a CBS News poll showing these response rates:

Do you favor or oppose homosexuals serving in the military?  Strongly favor, 34%; somewhat favor, 25%; somewhat oppose, 10%; strongly oppose, 19%

Do you favor or oppose gay men and lesbians serving in the military?  Strongly favor, 51%; somewhat favor, 19%; somewhat oppose,7%; strongly oppose, 12%

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1 Comment

  1. believer1

     /  February 13, 2010

    Being a sociologist who has studied survey research, these results are extremely interesting to me. I also find them interesting because I am an individual with major physical challenges. Both of these personal experiences have made me very much aware of the effects that specific words can have. I wonder if the more negative response to the first question is at least partially because of the word “homosexuals.” I think this for two reasons. First, the word “homosexual” has become associated with a lot of negative baggage. Second, “homosexual” is a blanket term that includes both men and women. The second option is more personalized in its terminology. So people may be thinking of specific people rather than a more removed social group when they see the second option.

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