A majority of Americans say the Boy Scouts of America should not allow openly gay Scout leaders, according to a Gallup poll released earlier this month.

The survey, conducted in November for USA Today, found that only 42% of Americans support openly gay Scout leaders, while a majority 52% are opposed.

Broken down along political lines, only 26% of self-identified Republicans expressed support for openly gay Scout leaders – compared with 40% support among independents and 60% support among Democrats.

Respondents were asked: “Do you think the Boy Scouts of America should or should not allow openly gay adults to serve as Boy Scout leaders?”

The survey results were based on telephone interviews conducted among 1,015 randomly selected adults, aged 18 and older, from all 50 US states and the District of Columbia.

Earlier this month, a US appeals court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America can lease public land from the City of San Diego despite the ban on gay people from being Scout members or leaders.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said that sanctioning leases did not violate a constitutional separation of the church and state.

The Boy Scouts of America announced in July that it would retain its anti-gay policy and has adopted positions since 1991 which state that homosexuality is “inconsistent with the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed”.