Gallup has asked about the government’s role in morality since 1993. The percentage favoring government promotion of traditional values has been as high as 59%, in early 1996 and in 2001, after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Support for the traditional values position fell to 50% in 2005, and though it has exceeded 50% twice since then — in 2009 and 2010 — the 2005 poll seems to have signaled the beginning of a new era in Americans’ views on the matter. The shift at that time may have been prompted in part by the unpopularity of the Bush administration and Republican Congress, but has continued as Americans have become more permissive in their attitudes on certain social issues such as gay rights and marijuana use.