A poll has found rising support for repealing the US ban on openly gay military personnel.
The Gallup-conducted research found the biggest increases in support among conservatives and weekly churchgoers – up 12 and 11 percentage points respectively.
Liberals and democrats remain most in favour of repealing the ban, with 86 per cent and 82 per cent in favour respectively.
Nationally, support levels ran at 69 per cent, compared with 63 per cent May 2004.
Younger respondents were more likely to support gay troops, with 78 per cent of those aged between 18 and 29 saying they would like to see an end to the ban.
This fell with age, as only 60 per cent of those aged over 65 agreed.
The only exception to the rise of support was found in those with a high school education or less, where levels of support remained static at 57 per cent.
The survey’s authors concluded: “Repealing the policy is a promise Obama made on the campaign trail and is one that gay rights groups have recently been more vocal in urging him to fulfill. While the administration to date has not taken action on the issue, the Gallup Poll data indicate that the public-opinion environment favours such a move.
“In particular, the more conservative segments of the population who could be expected to be most resistant to such a policy change have shifted in favor of repealing the existing ban, to the extent that majority support now spans all segments of the population.
“As the Obama administration weighs the political and military consequences of a policy change on this issue, it can do so knowing Americans are for the most part strongly in favour of change toward allowing gay men and lesbian women to serve openly alongside their fellow service members.”
The poll surveyed 1,015 adults between May 7th-10th, with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Last month, a poll from the Quinnipac University of 2,401 voters found that 56 per cent were in favour of repealing the ban, while 37 per cent were against.
It found that while 64 per cent of white Catholics wanted to see the ban lifted, 53 per cent of white evangelical Christians were against allowing gays to serve openly.