A new survey report shows division in the American public. While half of Americans find abortion to be morally wrong, they are evenly split on the issue of doctor-assisted suicide. Though a large majority says adultery is morally wrong, majorities of respondents find other sexual immorality and divorce to be acceptable.
The poll, part of Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey, was conducted May 3-6. The organization contacted 1,029 adults for the survey and claims a margin of error of plus or minus four percent.
Only about 38 percent of respondents thought abortion was morally acceptable, with 50 percent recognizing it as morally wrong. Differences in party affiliation were evident, as 51 percent of Democrats, 39 percent of Independents, and 26 percent of Republicans said the practice was morally acceptable.
Only 36 percent of women said abortion was morally acceptable, while 41 percent of men did.
Almost 60 percent of Americans declared embryonic stem cell research to be morally acceptable, with 68 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of independents, and 47 percent of Republicans accepting the practice. Less than 10 percent of all respondents said human cloning is acceptable.
While 77 percent of respondents said suicide is morally wrong, 46 percent said the same about assisted suicide. Only 26 percent thought the death penalty is morally wrong.
Fewer than 10 percent of respondents said polygamy or extramarital affairs are morally acceptable, but 69 percent said divorce was. Only 38 percent said sexual relations between an unmarried man and woman are morally wrong, with men more likely to find them acceptable than women. Fewer than half of Republicans said such acts are morally acceptable, but so did around 65 percent of both Democrats and independents.
For the first time, Gallup says, more than half of respondents said homosexual acts are morally acceptable. About 35 percent of Republicans agreed, as did 61 percent of Democrats and Independents.
An October 2009 survey report from the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life also claimed that only about half of Americans think homosexual acts are morally wrong. However, given the options of deeming the subject “morally acceptable” or “not a moral issue,” only 12 percent of respondents to that poll chose the former option while 35 percent chose the latter.
According to Gallup, its poll showed the greatest gender gap on the subject of the use of animals for furs or for experimentation. Only half of women found the wearing of fur acceptable, but 73 percent of men did. About 40 percent of men accepted the cloning of animals, compared to 19 percent of women. Men were also more likely to accept medical testing on animals.