It’s not unusual for pollsters to find that their respondents over-estimate the prevalence of people or things in the news. But I was amazed at this Gallup poll that asked its respondents to estimate the proportion of Americans who are gay.
The mean estimate was around 25%, about seven times the likely real figure, and 150% higher than the commonly cited 10% figure from the long-ago discredited Kinsey report. Only 4% of Americans gave numbers in the correct less than 5% category, and even deeming any answer less than 10% as broadly right we still get to only 13% of Americans giving a correct answer. Even most gay people would have social networks that are more than 75% straight, so these numbers are bizarre.
The 10% figure is still sometimes cited by gay activists to bolster their political case, but other questions in the Gallup survey suggest that perceptions of levels of homosexuality make little difference to political views.