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November 2, 2012

Gallup poll finds 12 million Americans are L,G,B, or T

Washington, D.C.--The Gallup polling organization and the Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles issued a special report on October 18 presenting the largest single study of LGBT distribution ever in the United States.

Gallup conducts daily tracking interviews, and as part of those between June 1 and September 30 this year, they asked each respondent if they personally identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The results of those interviews showed that 3.4 percent of Americans self-identified as LGBT, almost 12 million when extrapolated from the study sample, with another 4.4 percent answering that they did not know or refusing to answer that question.

Whites were the least likely to identify as LGBT, at 3.2 percent, with blacks coming in at 4.6 percent, Asians at 4.3 percent, and Latinos at four percent. Blacks and Hispanics also had higher percentages of “don’t know/refused to answer.”

Women were slightly more likely than men to identify as LGBT and to have no response to the question, while among 18-29 year olds, 6.4 percent identified as LGBT, while only 2.6 percent of 50- to 64-year olds did.

Contrary to previous studies, percentages of those self-identifying were higher among those who had not graduated from college than those who had. Those with high school diplomas or lower had 3.5 percent self-identifying, and those with some college education showed four percent self-identification. College graduates, meanwhile, only had 2.8 percent identifying as LGBT, and post-grads had 3.2 percent.

LGBT people identified far more often as independents or Democrats than as Republicans. Only 13 percent of those who identified themselves as LGBT said they were Republicans, compared to 43 percent independents and 44 percent Democrats. Twenty percent described themselves as conservative or very conservative, while 45 percent said they were liberal or very liberal. Among respondents, LGBT people preferred Obama to Romney by over a 3 to 1 margin, although the interviews ended over a month ago.

(Exit polling from the last five presidential elections showed that around three quarters of LGBT voters supported the Democratic candidates. Those polls also showed that LGBT voters are about 4% of all voters.)

Three-quarters of LGBT respondents to the Gallup survey said they were registered to vote or planned to register, compared to 80 percent of non-LGBT people. The figures were almost identical when asked about their intent to vote. In tight races, those LGBT voters could make the difference in who emerges victorious.

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