Americans Overestimate Gay Population – How Will This Affect Fight for Marriage Equality?

The American people think homosexuality is much more common than it actually is, according to a new Gallup poll. On average, Americans think that a quarter of their fellow Americans are gay or lesbian. Just your best guess, what percent of Americans today would you say are gay or lesbian? 2002 and 2011 Trend

I’m curious if this large overestimation could be having an affect on the political fight for marriage equality. The poll found young people, liberals and low income Americans tend to assume homosexuality is more common than the rest of the population.

While I think it is unlikely a person’s assumption about just how many Americans are gay or lesbian would change anyone’s opinion about whether denying them marriage equality is morally right, I could easily see it having an impact on how important people feel the issue is.

It is possible that the belief a huge segment of the population (instead of a relatively smaller percentage) is being denied their right to marry is making straight supporters (and those who oppose) more likely to take action on the issue, such as by donating money, volunteering, going to vote on a ballot measure, making it a factor in candidate selection, etc.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at