More Americans than ever have socially liberal views on a range of moral issues, according to the findings of a new poll.
The Gallup survey, released on May 11, determined that Americans are more left-leaning on 10 of 19 than ever before. Meanwhile, 13 of those 19 topics showed liberal-trending responses, while no topic received received responses trending in a more conservative direction.
Record numbers of respondents reported that they approved of birth control (91 percent), divorce (73 percent), pre-marital sex between a man and a woman (69 percent), gay or lesbian relationships (63 percent), having a baby outside of marriage (62 percent), doctor-assisted suicide (57 percent), pornography (36 percent) and polygamy (17 percent). The death penalty received 58 percent support, and medical testing on animals received 51 percent, both record lows.
Since pollsters first asked respondents these questions in the early 2000s, Gallup has noted a double-digit increase in the percentage of respondents who considered gay or lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, pre-marital sex between a man and woman, and divorce to be morally permissible.
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The remainder of the issues did not break any records; 65 percent considered gambling to be morally acceptable, 61 percent were okay with human embryo stem cell research, 57 percent approved buying or wearing animal fur clothing, 43 percent signed off on abortion, 36 percent approved sex between teenagers, 32 percent were comfortable with cloning animals, 14 percent approved cloning humans and 9 percent signed off on extramarital affairs.
"Americans have adopted more permissive views on matters of morality than they held at the beginning of the 21st century," Gallup said in a statement. " … Some of this change reflects increased social tolerance, while some is attributable to generational changes. It would appear that U.S. opinions will continue on this path, as younger, more liberal generations replace older, more conservative ones in the U.S. population."
The Atlantic notes that American millennials lean far to the left when it comes to issues such as gay rights, immigration and marijuana, although, like other age groups, they are more split when it comes to issues like abortion and gun control. Though young people statistically tend to be more socially liberal, The Atlantic also found that this demographic in particular was more diverse than any other group of American adults, which tends to correlate with liberal views.