Survey: New record highs in moral acceptability

These 19 issues fall into five groups, ranging from highly acceptable to highly unacceptable. Overall, 11 of the 19 are considered morally acceptable by more than half of Americans. Ninety percent of Americans believe birth control is morally acceptable, putting it into the “highly acceptable” category, which has little moral opposition — the only such issue among the 19. Nine of the other 10 issues with majority acceptance can be put into a “largely acceptable” category, as they have smaller majorities considering them morally acceptable and sizable minorities that consider them morally wrong. Moral agreement with doctor-assisted suicide, though at the majority level this year, is separated from disagreement by fewer than 10 percentage points, and so this issue is considered “contentious.”

Solid majorities of Americans consider seven of the issues morally wrong. Four of these — extramarital affairs, cloning humans, polygamy, and suicide — are considered morally wrong by more than 70% of Americans and fall into the “highly unacceptable” group. Three other issues fall into the “largely unacceptable” category, as smaller majorities of Americans consider them morally wrong, and at least three in 10 consider them morally acceptable.