Gallup updates “moral acceptability index”

According to Gallup’s annual “moral acceptability” index, updated this month:

Americans have inched to the right on a handful of the 15 issues rated, including divorce, use of animal fur in clothing, gambling, and embryonic stem-cell research. Public opinion about the moral acceptability of the other items is essentially unchanged, with no significant increases in support for traditionally liberal positions….

Despite these slight changes, a majority of Americans continue to view divorce, gambling, and embryonic stem-cell research as morally acceptable, and acceptance of using animal fur for clothing has only strengthened. The death penalty, premarital sex, and medical testing on animals also meet with Americans’ approval, ethically.

Only about half of Americans consider having a baby outside of marriage, as well as gay or lesbian relations, to be morally acceptable. Nearly as many say these actions are morally wrong, making them the social issues tested on which there is the greatest disagreement.

Abortion, cloning (whether of animals or humans), suicide, polygamy, and extramarital affairs are all viewed as morally wrong by solid majorities of Americans. ….

Bottom Line

Americans’ views about what is and isn’t morally acceptable in today’s culture have not changed dramatically over the past year. To the extent they have changed, they have moved slightly to the right on a handful of issues, almost entirely because of more pronounced conservative shifts among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. This is particularly evident with respect to lower Republican support for divorce and embryonic stem-cell research, and increased Republican support for the use of animal fur in clothing.

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