How typical is Phil Robertson’s view of gay sex?

One question that has come up in the Duck Dynasty dispute is how typical is Phil Roberston’s view that homosexual behavior is a sin.

In recent years, the public has been moving from a majority believing that sexual relations between people of the same gender is always wrong to roughly equal numbers believing that it’s always wrong and believing that it’s not wrong at all.

Indeed, less than two years ago, our President finally came around to embrace views on gay marriage that I expect a majority of us at the Volokh Conspiracy have long held.

In searching through polls archived at the Roper Center, I found these surveys showing the split over gay sex:

May 2013: Do you think it is a sin, or not, to engage in homosexual behavior?
(Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Political Survey)

    45% Is a sin
    45% Is not a sin
    10% Don’t know/Refused

March 2013: Do you personally believe that sex between two adults of the same gender is a sin, or not?
(Source: Public Religion Research Institute Religion & Politics Tracking Survey)

    44% Yes, is a sin
    46% No, is not a sin
    10% Don’t know/Refused

Mar-Aug, 2012: What about sexual relations between two adults of the same sex–do you think it is always wrong, almost always wrong, wrong only sometimes, or not wrong at all?
(Source: 2012 General Social Survey, % of those expressing an opinion, weighted responses)

    46% Always wrong
    3% Almost always wrong
    8% Wrong only sometimes
    44% Not wrong at all

July 2011: Do you personally believe that sex between two adults of the same gender is a sin, or not?
(Source: Public Religion Research Institute Millennials, Religion & Gay and Lesbian Issues Survey)

    50% Yes, is a sin
    46% No, is not a sin
    4% Don’t know/Refused

2010 & 2012 GSS: I further analyzed the combined 2010 and 2012 General Social Surveys because they have the highest quality data and in both years the same percentage believed that gay sex was always wrong (45.7%). (I weighted the data for household size and nonresponse error and followed the GSS default of treating nonresponses as missing.)

Most people are in part the products of their own backgrounds, and Phil Robertson’s background would make him more likely than most to believe that gay sex is always wrong.

Consider the percentages of the following groups thinking that gay sex is always wrong:

    54% of those born in the 1940-1950 period,
    65% of those from the East South Central region of the country,
    77% of those believing that the Bible is the literal word of God,
    72% of protestant fundamentalists, and
    51% of males.

Other groups in which a majority believe that gay sex is always wrong include:

    52% of male Democrats,
    60% of male Republicans, and
    63% of African Americans, including 58% of African-American females.