How Americans view 21 moral issues

by Dr. Eowyn

From May 1-12, 2019, Gallup conducted its annual Values and Beliefs poll, using telephone interviews of a random national sample of 1,009 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Landline and cellular telephone numbers were selected using random-digit-dial methods. The poll has a margin of ±4 percentage points sampling error; the poll’s findings have a 95% confidence level.

Gallup’s summary of the poll:

There has been little movement since last year in Americans’ views of the moral acceptability of a range of issues, as birth control, drinking alcohol and divorce remain the most acceptable, and cloning humans and extramarital affairs are least acceptable.

A strong ideological split remains across many of the issues, but none is as divisive as abortion. As some states move to limit or restrict abortions, debate around this issue will likely only get more intense.

POLITICAL DIVIDE:

  • Of the 21 issues tested in this poll, 7 issues are deemed acceptable by a majority of liberals but less than half of conservatives: abortion, gay or lesbian relations, doctor-assisted suicide, smoking marijuana, having a baby outside of marriage, pornography, and sex between teenagers.
  • Abortion is the most divisive of the issues: 23% of conservatives vs. 73% of liberals consider it morally acceptable.
  • Just 3 issues are viewed as morally acceptable by a majority of conservatives but less than half of liberals: the death penalty, buying and wearing clothes made of animal fur, and medical testing on animals.
  • Conservatives and liberals are broadly united in their belief that 5 behaviors are morally wrong: suicide, cloning animals, cloning humans, polygamy, and extramarital affairs.

 

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