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The most striking number is that nearly 60 percent of combat soldiers and Marines believe open gays will hurt unit readiness.

There are other similar findings, reports special correspondent Mr. Scarborough.

Of respondents who said they served under a leader they believed to be gay, 46 percent said it had a “mostly negative” effect on the unit’s performance. Only 8 percent termed it “mostly positive.”

Of all troops asked how repeal will affect their future, 23 percent said they will either leave the military sooner than planned or think about leaving. For Marines, the percentage was nearly 40 percent.

If the figures are accurate, repeal would result in a surge of troop departures and leave the military scrambling to fill the ranks.

A quarter of those surveyed also said they would shower at a different time if someone they believed to be gay were using the facility.

Gay-rights advocates cite the survey’s most publicized result: Seventy percent of all troops - support and combat - say repeal will have a positive, mixed or no effect on the force.