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Study: Public polls underestimate same-sex attraction, especially among Christians

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Recent research suggests that people are more honest about the extent of their attraction to their own sex if they are assured that their answers will be anonymous. According to Bloomberg News, unless people believe that their identities will be kept secret and separate from their answers, they tend to be less than honest about their same sex attractions and, interestingly, about their negative attitudes toward LGBT people.

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A team of researchers at Ohio State University found that when respondents were assured of anonymity, their admission to same sex attraction and activity rose sharply. In a normal survey, an average of 17 percent of those surveyed (12 percent of men, 24 percent of women) said they have had a sexual experience with someone of their own sex. For the anonymous, or “veiled” survey, the number rose to 27 percent (17 percent of men and 43 percent of women), an increase of 58 percent.

In the standard survey, 11 percent or respondents said they did not consider themselves to be heterosexual. In the veiled result, the percentage leapt to 19 percent, a 65 percent increase.

However, the incidence of anti-LGBT sentiment underwent a similar jump between standard and veiled survey results. Bloomberg’s Cass R. Sunstein wrote, “Did participants believe that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should be illegal? In the standard survey, only about 14 percent said no. That number increased to 25 percent in the veiled report.”

Sixteen percent of respondents said they would be uncomfortable having a LGBT manager at work, whereas the veiled result was 27 percent.

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The amount of variance between standard and veiled answers among participants varied sharply by age group. Younger respondents’ replies about same sex attractions varied hardly at all. Researchers attribute the increased honesty to the decrease in societal stigma toward LGBT people.

Among older people and those who identify as Christian, the variance between their standard and veiled answers was particularly extreme. The veiled report showed an increase in non-heterosexuality and same sex experiences of more than 100 percent.

Also, the difference between those who were nominally accepting of an LGBT manager at work, but who privately expressed negative feelings at that prospect was most acute among respondents who identify as Republicans. “A minority of Republicans (35 percent) said they would be unhappy with an LGBT manager,” wrote Sunstein. “Under the veiled report, most Republicans (67 percent) said they would be unhappy.”

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The Ohio State team’s results suggest that the real LGBT community is significantly larger than has been reported under normal survey models. It is also important to note, Sunstein said, “that Coffman and her colleagues didn’t have a representative sample, so the total percentages can’t be taken as reflective of what the general American population thinks and does. Among other things, the participants in their study were younger, more liberal and better educated than the general U.S. population.”

[image of happy lesbian couple via Shutterstock.com]


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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 4 losers from the CNN/NYT Democratic presidential primary debate

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Twelve Democrats took to the stage Tuesday night for yet another debate in the party's 2020 president primary hosted by CNN and the New York Times.

After only ten candidates qualified for the previous debate, an additional two — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and wealthy donor and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — made it to the stage this round for an even more crowded event.

The candidates discussed a range of important policy issues, but since the format was a debate, and they're all competing for the same nomination, it is ultimately most critical who won and who lost the night. Here are three winners and four losers — necessarily a subjective assessment, of course — from the debate:

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