Americans think there is a massive homosexual population in the US, one far larger than the reality, results from a new poll show.
On average Americans think about 25 per cent are homosexual, but earlier this year a study found that less than 2 per cent of Americans are homosexual.
Respected pollsters Gallup, who carried out the survey, suggest the overestimation may be because citizens have more “exposure” to homosexuals, either personally or from entertainment.
In the survey it was found that young Americans gave a higher average guess than older Americans, and women gave a far higher average estimate than men.
Gallup also looked at the differences from the last time it had asked about the homosexual population, in 2002, and found that more people now felt in a position to give an opinion.
Taken as a whole, Gallup said, the estimate is “likely driven more by perceptions and exposure than by scientific measurement or reality”.
Between 5 May and 8 May this year, the polling company asked: “Just your best guess, what percent of Americans today would you say are gay or lesbian?”
In April 2011 a US study, conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA in California, cross-referenced five national and state surveys and found 1.8 per cent of respondents identified themselves as bisexual and 0.3 per cent said they were transgender.
In the UK last year official figures showed only one adult in 100 is a homosexual.
The figures were from a vast survey of almost half a million adults carried out by the Office for National Statistics.