Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Attitudes towards homosexuality, internationally

From Will Wilkinson, you can see the rates of disapproval of homosexuality have plummeted. (Click for closer view)":

H/T Andrew Suillivan.


Paul said...

I assume you have seen the state by state polls within the US showing support for same sex unions as a function of age. I can send you a link if you haven't seen it. Summarizing, if the matter were decided by voters over 65, no state would have same sex marriage. If it were decided by younger voters (I am no sure of the age cutoff on this one) 38 states would have same sex marriages. The political blog fivethirtyeight.com actually used this data to extrapolate a date when Mississippi would have a majority supporting same sex marriages. The strength of the regression on age is phenomenal.

Paul M

IT said...

Thanks Paul. I posted on that study previously, here.. For those who are interested, the graph itself is here.

Also if people are interested in my other posts involving statistics and data here's a list.

Erika Baker said...

So what is happening here, why these rises and in 2 cases quite high peaks after approval had steadily increased for years. Is that when countries suddenly start to talk about it and opinion becomes polarised? But why, then did approval increase before the talking?

IT said...

PRobably, Erika. If you look year by year in the US, the steady trend towards approval can be delayed by short term effects (like the efforts of the right wing to demonize gays)

Erika Baker said...

I can understand that a steady trend towards approval can be delayed, and the Spanish and Swedish graph show that clearly. But what happened in the UK, for example, where an almost 19% disapproval rating suddenly escalated to an almost 35% one before falling again. Did people previously say they approved and then changed their minds before changing them back again? In their thousands and thousands?

At first I thought that the disapproval peaks take into account people who had previously not had an opinion and then became politicised for a short while, but statistics ought to take those people into account when arriving at approval ratings, so these people should already have been accounted for in the earlier periods with higher approval.

At least the overall trend is towards approval after this strange peak, and if the US follows the more or less the same time frame, you should shortly see an improvement in public opinion.

IT said...

Well in this sort of meta-analysis there can also be changes in how the question is asked. For example, in the US a strong majority favors "gays being allowed to serve openly in the military". The numbers drop quite a bit when the question is whether "practising homosexuals should join the military", or something like that.

"gay" is viewed as more favorable than "homosexual".

I know, I know....but you never go wrong underestimating the intelligence of the American electorate. A substantial fraction of which actually DOES believe the President is the anti-Christ.

Erika Baker said...

That assumes that the questions were asked in similar formats in almost all those countries - the patterns and trends seem to be too similar for that.

The Werewolf Prophet said...

An educated guess? Japan's early-on rise was due to AIDS becoming prevalent in that population, while Great Britain and Germany's later rises were both due to conservative governments whipping their respective religious right groups into homophobic frenzy for political gain. The later rise is the US is for the same reason - the reign of George Bush.

However, what really strikes me is the steep plunge that began the same time AIDS made its appearance. It's an established fact that folk who personally know someone gay become far less homophobic over time, and during the Die-Off years of epidemic, gay men couldn't hide anymore.