Likewise, only 34 percent of Americans say they strongly support "homosexuals" in the military. But a majority -- 51 percent -- strongly support "gay men and lesbians" serving in the military. That's right: You can increase the strongest support by a third by simply avoiding the "H" word. The "strongly oppose" group goes down by a third.
You can do this with virtually any issue. Try it (if you don't mind ruining your opinion of the voting public, that is). Ask us if public worker unions should be able to negotiate for their pay and people say yes. Change the wording to ask if they should be able to negotiate for higher pay, and opinion turns against them. What, did the first bunch think workers were negotiating for lower pay?
"We demand lower pay and less respect, and we won't stop working double shifts until we get it!"
Probably not. They probably thought nothing about the issue at all until the moment they were asked. We can't be educated on every issue, and the "don't know" option in a poll makes us sound like morons. So the respondent's brain probably just slapped together an opinion based on how the question made him feel at that moment. Remember that in most surveys, the most common unspoken answer is always, "Whatever it takes to get you off the phone, buddy. My burrito is getting cold."
"Yes, fine. Whatever. I support unrestricted eugenics programs for brown people. Can I get back to my vodka and soap operas now?"