Doctor-Assisted Suicide Is Moral Issue Dividing Americans Most

Gallup Polls May 31 2011

Doctor-assisted suicide emerges as the most controversial cultural issue in Gallup’s 2011 Values and Beliefs poll, with Americans divided 45% vs. 48% over whether it is morally acceptable or morally wrong. Having a baby out of wedlock and abortion also closely divide Americans. However, stronger public consensus exists on 14 other issues tested. Americans are in broadest agreement about what behaviors are morally wrong. At least 8 in 10 U.S. adults interviewed in the May 5-8 survey say this about extramarital affairs, polygamy, cloning humans, and suicide. At least 6 in 10 say pornography and cloning animals are each morally wrong. Widest agreement about what is morally acceptable, ranging from 60% to 69%, is found for divorce, the death penalty, gambling, embryonic stem cell research, and premarital sex. Also, 55% or better say medical testing on animals, gay/lesbian relations, and the use of animal fur for clothing are each acceptable. The three most controversial issues — doctor-assisted suicide, abortion, and out-of-wedlock births — are the ones on which fewer than 15 points separate the percentage considering the issue morally acceptable from the percentage considering it morally wrong. Attitudes on each have been fairly stable in recent years. Perceived Moral Acceptability of Behaviors and Social Policies, May 2011