Thanks to everybody who replied to my Buffyverse sexuality survey! As of writing this I've had 140 responses... and if you want to know the results, then in order from most straight to most gay, the votes were:
Joyce, Riley, Cordelia (0)
Buffy, Dawn, Oz (1)
Xander, Anya, Giles, Spike, Angel (2)
Below the cut, you'll find lots of
geeky statistical wittering analysis of the results.
Nothing entirely surprising in the responses, although it's not precisely the ratings I chose myself. Which, for the record, were:
5 (not 4) for Willow (if she claims to be 'gay now' I'm not going to argue with her own self-assessment)
1 (not 2) for Giles and Spike (some same-sex experimentation in their past I can accept, but not a consistent pattern of it.)
1 (not 0) for Joyce (Pat in 'Dead Man's Party?)
4 (not 3) for Faith. (I went into this in far too much depth already)
I also picked 0 (not 2) for Anya, although with hindsight (being reminded in the comments of her flirtation with Willow in 'Same Time Same Place') I'd change that. The other 9 characters, I voted in line with the consensus.
Looking at where I vary, it's interesting that apart from Anya, in every case I assigned a rating that was higher (gayer) for female characters and lower (straighter) for male characters than the overall vote - which from what I can work out, comprised 57 women, 11 men and 72 people whose gender is unknown to me. I'm not sure if that's just a coincidence or evidence of an inbuilt tendency to want to slash the opposite sex. :-)
It's also notable that on some characters there was a very clear agreement: but on others a wide variety of answers. Only five characters managed to get a majority of people agreeing on their orientation: Buffy, Cordelia, Joyce, Riley and Tara. Interestingly, the person who inspired the most certainty was Riley, with 68% of people saying he's completely straight (0) and 93% agreeing he's either completely or mostly straight (0-1). Mind you, two people said he's completely gay (6), which leads me to think I should have added a question saying "Do you often give deliberately wrong answers to online surveys? (Y/N)"...
Tara came second in the certainty league - it's possibly significant that both these characters were initially introduced as love interests of major characters, so you could say their respective sexualities pretty much defined their role on the show. As for Buffy, the opposite could well apply. Her relationships and feelings were the centrepiece of the show for over seven years, and so we have an abundance of information to draw our conclusions on, leading to a general consensus.
Riley - 68% say 0, 93% 0-1.
Tara - 64% say 6, 94% say 5-6.
Joyce - 62% say 0, 97% a 0-1.
Buffy - 60% say 1, 97% a 0-2.
Cordelia - 56% say 0; 89% a 0-1.
At the other extreme, the person inspiring the least certainty about his sexual orientation was Oz, with fewer than one third of the votes (32%) agreeing on him being a 1, and barely a majority (58%) saying he was 0-1. Several people remarked in the comments about how difficult it was to categorise him. Angel was also hard to place, with only 34% saying he was a 2 and 62% assigning him to the spread 2-3. Given that he's one of the only four characters in the main cast to have canonically engaged in same-gender sex I can see why he was voted somewhere near the centre of the scale... but given also the emphasis in the show on his romantic and sexual involvements with Buffy, Darla, Cordelia and Nina, one has to wonder if the popularity of Spangel fanfic also influenced the voting here. :-)
Given that Willow's redefinition of her sexual orientation was the cause of huge flamewars and controversy back in the day, it's also worth noting that 76% of respondents put her in the 'gay' section of the scale, while 68% put her in the 'bisexual' section. The people of LJ have spoken! :-) (The numbers overlap since I consider 4 to be in both areas).
Watch this space for a similar poll on 'Angel' characters. One question: should I duplicate those characters who appeared on both series? At present, I'm thinking that Angel, Doyle, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn, Fred, Lorne, Connor, Lindsey, Lilah and Darla should definitely be included. That's 11 people, and there's a maximum of 15 in the poll, so there are four vacant spots. Who else to include? Faith and Spike? Holtz or Justine? Illyria? Eve? Harmony? Drusilla? Virginia Bryce? The Groosalugg? Suggestions welcome...