However, opponents noted that the survey found a sizable minority opposed repeal because openly gay service members could affect morale, training and unit cohesion. Opposition was highest among troops in combat.
In addition, heads of individual military services have told Congress they're against repeal at the moment, while the country is in two wars.
Many Republicans agree.
"I was hoping for the study to be definitive, but it came out ambiguous," said Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah.
Supporters countered that not only is repeal the right thing to do, but Congress also shouldn't let courts determine the policy. Military officials worry that court rulings could force change without time for proper preparation.
"We can see the courts moving on this," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "We should ... do it legislatively, not leave it to the courts."
Senators also are debating whether to ratify a new U.S.-Russia Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, an Obama initiative that's been slowed by Republicans who contend that it would limit the U.S.'s missile defense development. The Pentagon denies that.
Some Republicans were angry that the votes on immigration and gays in the military interrupt the New START debate.
"I think emotions around here are slightly frayed, and I think everybody kind of wants this session to end," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. "It's my hope it will end with us doing what's necessary on the START treaty. I think that would be good just to clear that up."
ON THE WEB
MORE FROM MCCLATCHY
For more McClatchy politics coverage visit Planet Washington