Poll Finds Americans More Accepting of Divorce

by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer

(May 28, 2008) A new Gallup poll found Americans to be more opposed to wearing clothes made of animal fur than to divorce or embryonic stem cell research.

More Americans than ever before believe divorce is morally acceptable according to the poll, which was conducted on May 8-11 among 1,017 adults. Seventy percent of respondents said divorce was acceptable, an increase of 11 percent from a similar poll conducted in 2001.

“Since 2001, acceptance of divorce has risen across society, and, as a result, it is now considered morally acceptable by a majority of nearly every major demographic category of Americans,” says Lydia Saad of Gallup.

“Tolerance for divorce is comparable to public acceptance of gambling, the death penalty, embryonic stem-cell research, and premarital sex. However, married men and women having an affair is tied with polygamy in last place, and ranks just slightly below cloning humans and suicide in perceived moral acceptability.”

By contrast, only 22 percent of Americans morally condemned divorce while 39 percent said the purchasing and wearing of clothing made from animal fur is “morally wrong.” While almost four in ten Americans expressed moral qualms with killing animals for clothing, only three in ten objected to destroying human embryos for stem cell research.

Other findings revealed a decline in national acceptance for the legalization of same-sex “marriages.” Support for legal recognition of these marriages dropped from 46 to 40 percent since last year.

However, when it comes to a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, the nation remains almost evenly split.

The poll also indicated that the public view of abortion has remained relatively static. About 50 percent of Americans describe themselves as “pro-choice” while 44 percent say they are “pro-life.” Following a strong “pro-choice” tilt from 1995-1997, subsequent Gallup surveys have indicated a relatively even split on the abortion issue each year.

Interestingly, only 13 percent indicated that the presidential candidate they will vote for must share their views on abortion, while 49 percent still considered abortion “one of many important factors” in casting their vote.

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