The following is not good news.  It is, however, entirely consistent
with other findings for the past few years.
     The American National Election Study, conducted since 1948 by the
University of Michigan, asks its cross-section of U.S. adults to rate several
different groups or political figures using a "feeling thermometer,"
basically a scale of 0 to 100.  If you're feelings toward a group are neither
positive nor negative, you'd rate it "50."  If you have the warmest possible
feelings for the group, it gets a "100," wherease if you have the coldest
possible feelings toward the group, it gets a "0."
     Most groups get overall positive median ratings, with a fairly random
distribution and very few zeroes; George Bush was rated "0" by a relatively
high 5 percent of the 2,487 respondents.
     Then there's us.  "Gays and lesbians, that is, homosexuals," in the
words of the survey form.
     Of those responding, 22.6% gave us positive ratings (51-100); only 1.9%
gave us a "100" rating.  28.1% gave us a neutral rating of 50.  49.4%, almost
exactly half the country, gave us negative ratings (0-49).  Most depressing,
22.1% of the nation gave us a rating of zero--roughly ten times the average
share of zeroes accumulated by the other groups.
     If you want to know what kind of political courage it would have taken
for Mr. Clinton to have kept his promises, you need look no further.  About
one-quarter of American adults hate us outright, another quarter dislike us
to varying degrees, and a third quarter are on the whole indifferent to us. 
Fewer than a quarter have generally positive feelings toward us, and only a
fraction of our *own* presumed population regard their sisters and brothers
with the warmest possible feelings.
     We've got a lot of work to do, folks.


Howdy again.
     To amplify on my earlier GayNet post on the National Election Study data
from late 1992, here's a list of several different groups folks were asked to
rate on that "feeling thermometer."  100 is the "warmest" possible feeling, 0
the "coldest," and 50 is neutral.  I list as well the percentage of the
sample answering each thermometer question which gave an extreme answer,
either 0 (lowest possible) or 100 (highest possible).

                              Mean      % saying  % saying
                              score     zero      100
                              =====     =======   =======
     Whites                   71.1       0.3      16.0
     The police               69.7       1.0      11.0
     The military             69.4       0.7      13.9
     The poor                 69.1       0.1      13.9
     Environmentalists        67.4       0.9      12.2
     Catholics                65.9       0.8      10.7
     Blacks                   65.1       0.9      11.4
     The women's movement     61.4       2.3       8.4
     Conservatives            55.7       1.0       3.0
     Big business             54.7       2.1       3.2
     Fundamentalists          53.2       3.3       8.3
     Labor unions             52.7       4.9       5.6
     Liberals                 50.3       3.9       1.9
     People on welfare        50.1       3.6       2.0
     Gays and lesbians        39.2      22.1       1.9

     For the quantoids among us, these data are from the 1992 post-election
survey cdonducted in November and December of last year for the American
National Election Study, run by the Survey Research Center of the University
of Michigan.  Total number of respondents at 2,487.  Figures represent means
and valid percentages of weighted data ("valid" meaning that folks who gave
no response to a particular question were excluded in computing the


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