Military Support for “Don’t Ask” Declining

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told the Advocate on Wednesday that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal is coming next year. I argued that allowing gay people to serve openly is popular enough now that it might make sense for Democrats to use it as a wedge issue for the 2010 elections. But I missed this survey from Monday, which suggests that support for repealing DADT is growing in the military itself:

A new study about the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy questions the assumption that allowing openly gay and lesbian military personnel to serve in the U.S. armed forces could harm military readiness…. The study found that just 40 percent of the military members surveyed expressed support for the policy, while 28 percent opposed it and 33 percent were neutral—less support than seen in previous surveys.

About 20 percent of those polled said they were aware of a gay or lesbian member in their unit, and about half of those said their presence was well known. In addition, three-quarters of those surveyed said they felt comfortable or very comfortable in the presence of gays or lesbians, according to the study.

If Democrats can demonstrate significant support for DADT repeal among servicemembers, it will make their arguments even more effective when the political battle over repeal begins.