Little change seen in U.S. moral views

May 20, 2009 at 3:44 PM
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PRINCETON, N.J., May 20 (UPI) -- Most Americans continue to see divorce, gambling and embryonic stem cell research as morally acceptable despite small shifts to the right, a poll indicates.

The Gallup Poll's annual "moral acceptability" measure, completed this month, indicated that on a handful of moral issues, Americans have inched to the right, but by and large they remain supportive of traditionally liberal positions.

The survey found most Americans find the death penalty, premarital sex and medical testing on animals to be morally acceptable. But only about half of Americans consider having a baby outside of marriage, as well as gay or lesbian relations, to be morally acceptable, while nearly as many say those actions are morally wrong -- making them the social issues on which there is the greatest disagreement, the pollsters said.

Meanwhile, solid majorities of Americans consider abortion, cloning -- whether of animals or humans -- suicide, polygamy and extramarital affairs to be morally wrong.

The shift to conservatism on some issues was mostly due to Republicans moving to the political right in their views of divorce and stem cell research, Gallup said.

The poll included interviews with 1,015 adults May 7-10, with an error margin of 3 percentage points.

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