Less than 4 percent of Americans identify as LGBT — but when the public is asked what percentage of Americans are gay or lesbian, the average guess is about 23 percent! Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll, looks into what’s behind these wildly inflated guesses.
Americans’ guesses of the number of black or Jewish people is also vastly inflated compared to the real numbers. Gallup finds the propensity to overestimate is inversely related to the level of education: The more educated people are, the lower they guess — though they still tend to overestimate.
Newly released data show just how fast American attitudes on same-sex marriage have changed. In a more general sense, Americans are more likely to define themselves as liberal regarding social issues as at any time in the history of tracking ideology.