PARRIS ISLAND, SC - MARCH 06:  United States Marine Corps recruits recite answers to questions about Marine Corps history asked by their drill instructor during a break in training at boot camp March 6, 2007 at Parris Island, South Carolina. The Department of Defense has asked Congress to increase the size of the Marine Corps by 27,000 troops and the Army by 65,000 over the next five years.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

More than half of likely voters believe the president is working to destroy the military’s policy toward homosexuals of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for political reasons, according to a new poll.

“By a 26-point margin (57 percent vs. 31 percent) more survey respondents perceived President Obama’s campaign promise to repeal … ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (and which uses the word ‘homosexual’) as motivated more by politics than principle,” a report on the new poll from WomanTrend said today.

The poll, done on behalf of the Center for Military Readiness and the Military Culture Coalition, was conducted July 14-18. The margin of error is 3.1 percent at a 95-percent confidence interval, “meaning that in 19 out of 20 cases, the data obtained would not differ by more than 3.1 percentage points in either direction.”

The survey asked, among a list of questions, “In his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama promised that if he was elected president, he would seek to repeal, or overturn, the law regarding homosexuals in the military, often called ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the law in 1993. Do you believe he is assigning high priority to this issue mostly out of principle or mostly for political reasons?”

The actual breakdown also included 2 percent who volunteered that Obama was motivated by both reasons, 1 percent who said he was motivated by neither, 9 percent who did not know and 1 percent who refused to answer.

The survey pluralities of every subgroup said Obama’s motivation is politics, “the sole exception being blacks (48 percent ‘out of principle’ vs. 32 percent ‘political reasons’).”

“Notably, pluralities, and, in some cases, majorities, of several key subgroups that voted for Obama in 2008 felt his pledge was mostly politically motivated, including women (50 percent), ‘junior’ seniors – those in the 55-64 age range (51 percent), New Englanders (48 percent), those in the Mid-Atlantic region (51 percent) and those in the Midwest (48 percent),” the report said.

“The tendency for these groups to pivot away from the president is symptomatic of his declining overall support,” the analysis said.

The poll also revealed that strong majorities of likely voters agreed with the truth of the 1993 law: that “the primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for and to prevail in combat should the need arise” as well as that “the military is a specialized society … that is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs and traditions.”

Also, likely voters were opposed to penalties for military personnel and chaplains who do not support Obama’s plan for open homosexuality in the ranks, they disagreed with the idea of promoting acceptance of openly homosexual, bisexual or transgendered individuals in the military, said changing the current practice should not be a priority for
Congress and affirmed that members of Congress who vote to overturn the practice could face “negative” political consequences.

The poll also revealed that likely voters oppose using tax-funded military facilities to perform abortions.

On the question of Obama’s motives, the poll revealed, “Independents, another pivotal cohort won by Obama in 2008, sided with Republicans in thinking ‘political reasons’ provided the impetus for his commitment to overturn the law (62 percent ‘political reasons’ vs. 26 percent ‘out of principle’ for Independents, 79 percent ‘political reasons’ vs. 12 percent ‘out of principle’ for Republicans).”

Even 34 percent of the Democrats said Obama was acting on political notions.

The poll showed a whopping 92 percent concurred with the current law’s finding that the armed forces operate to “prepare for and prevail in combat should the need arise.” And 2 of 3 agreed with the finding that the military “is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs and traditions.”

Further, 76 percent of Americans “said they have ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in the military and the biggest number agreed that Congress should listen ‘mostly’ to the four chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps who have expressed concerns about overturning the current law.”

Fifty-two percent of respondents opposed career penalties that would discriminate against persons who do not support homosexuality in the military. Advocates of the change have recommended penalties for those, especially chaplains, who disagree with what essentially would be a mandatory affirmation of homosexuality.

“Conflicts between the right to religious freedom and the demand to accommodate homosexuality in the military may make implementation of a new policy unworkable,” the poll suggested.

“The majority of men (58 percent) and a plurality of women (47 percent), as well as at least 45 percent of voters in every age cohort, believed the military should not attempt to instill certain beliefs in people regarding homosexuality,” the poll said.

“A plurality of likely voters (46 percent) indicated that a vote to overturn current law on homosexuals in the military carried no political currency. This coincides with how voters ranked the issues earlier in the survey, as repealing the law on homosexuals in the military garnered a mere 1 percent among a list of five policy priorities for the Congress and president,” the analysis reported.

“Still, representatives have more to lose than to gain if they vote to overturn the current law: 30 percent would be less likely and just 21 percent more likely (net minus-9) to vote for their member of Congress knowing that he or she voted to disrupt the status quo. Furthermore, there was a 10-point intensity gap between the 12 percent MUCH MORE likely to support such a member of Congress and the 22 percent who would be MUCH LESS likely.”

On abortion, “Survey respondents opposed authorizing abortions in military medical facilities by a 49-percent (to) 41-percent margin, and intensity rested in the opposition. There was a 16-point gap between those who strongly opposed and who strongly supported authorization (42 percent vs. 26 percent).”

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