Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version

Summer 5-2016


Absalon, Jacob. 2016. "Changing Public Opinion Towards LGB Rights: An Analysis Of Data From The American National Election Studies, 1992-2012." MA thesis, Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Sociology, Under the Supervision of Professor Regina Werum .Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2016

Copyright (c) 2016 Jacob P. Absalon


This study uses data from several waves of the American National Election Studies (ANES, 1992-2012) to examine changing attitudes regarding civil rights for Lesbian Gay Bisexual (LGB) individuals. Analyses focus on differences in attitudes toward gays and lesbians generally, attitudes regarding non-discrimination protections, and views about integration into military service during this time frame. Generally, this thesis builds on previous research in Sociology and Political Science regarding the role of status attainment characteristics, demographic markers, and ideological preferences to explain long-term trends in public opinion. Specifically, this study extends prior research by analyzing how membership in particular occupational groups has shaped respondents’ views of LGB. Findings suggest across all outcome variables examined, white-collar professionals express more positive views towards gays and lesbians than do respondents in unskilled blue-collar and farming occupations, whose negative attitudes are most pronounced regarding inclusion in military service. As expected, ethnic and religious minorities, as well as women, are generally more supportive; married and politically conservative respondents are less supportive; whereas income and education are positively associated with support for LGB rights. These empirical results are discussed in light of central sociological concepts (hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity) and are used to indicate potential directions for future research.

Advisor: Regina Werum