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Lifting the veil on the LGBT voter reveals major surprises

LGBT Americans are remarkably unlike straight Americans in their political leanings and party identification, a new study finds.

A recently released Gallup Report shatters the myth that LGBT Americans are liberals who dutifully vote Democratic during elections. And indeed on Tuesday, the Log Cabin Republicans endorsed Mitt Romney, one of the most anti-gay political candidates in modern history.

Still, 45% of LGBT Americans describe themselves as liberal or very liberal in their political beliefs, while 20% call themselves conservative or very conservative. Another 35% of LGBT Americans fall between the two extremes on the political spectrum, calling themselves moderate. By comparison, 23% of straight voters consider themselves liberal, 39% conservative and 38% moderate.

By party identification, 44% of LGBT Americans are Democrats, 43% are Independents and 13% are Republicans. By comparison, 32% of straight voters are Democrats, 39% are Independents and 30% are Republicans.

In the upcoming presidential election, 71% of LGBT Americans who are registered voters say they plan to vote for the re-election of President Barack Obama while 22% support Republican nominee Mitt Romney regardless of his anti-gay views. Obama has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign and is supported by a majority of LGBT groups.

LGBT voters could determine whether Obama or Romney wins the election

More than 120,000 adults were interviewed in the report, which was authored by Gallup Editor-in-chief Frank Newport and Gary Gates, Williams Distinguished Scholar at The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. This is one of the most extensive interviews of LGBT voters ever completed.

The sizable margin of support for Obama could tip a close race to Obama, Gates said.

“While LGBT voters clearly tilt toward Democratic candidates, it was clear from the data that the community is not a monolithic political group, and notably, LGBT Americans who express more conservative political preferences share many of the traits common to other Americans with those political views,” Gates said.

The overall demographic patterns that are associated with the general population's preferences for Obama and Romney are also apparent within the LGBT population. LGBT Americans who support Romney tend to be older, white, more religious, and more likely to be married.

Another major area of departure between LGBT and straight voters is over approval of Obama’s record as President.

Among LGBT Americans, 68% approved of the way Obama was doing his job as President during the June-September survey period, compared with 45% of non-LGBT Americans. Meanwhile, 28% of LGBT Americans disapproved of the way Obama was doing his job, compared with 51% of non-LGBT individuals.

Also, LGBT Americans are slightly less likely to be registered to vote than their straight counterparts. Almost three-fourths (74%) of LGBT Americans are registered to vote or plan to do so, compared to 80% of straight Americans.

To read the full report, click HERE.