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3 Moral Issues Where Conservatives, Liberals More Closely Align

Conservatives and liberals have double-digit percent differences in views on all but three moral issues, according to a Gallup report published May 29.

The survey presented respondents with 21 issues – ranging from birth control and abortion to gambling and wearing fur clothing – and asked them to note whether they felt each issue was morally acceptable or not.

A 14-point percent or greater difference resulted in responses between self-identified conservatives and self-identified liberals, save for birth control, human cloning and medical testing on animals.

Both groups were strongly supportive of birth control (with 90% of conservatives and 93% of liberals saying it is morally acceptable), and both were strongly opposed to human cloning (with only 11% of conservatives and 16% of liberals seeing it as morally acceptable).

There was mixed support from both groups about using animals for medical tests, with 55% of conservatives and 47% of liberals agreeing that it is morally acceptable to do so.

Abortion was the issue with the greatest divide (50%) between groups, with 23% of conservatives and 73% of liberals saying it is morally acceptable.

The next largest difference (36%) was regarding gay or lesbian relations (morally acceptable to 45% of conservatives and 81% of liberals) and doctor-assisted suicide (36% of conservatives and 72% of liberals).

Only three of the 21 issues had more conservatives than liberals affirming their moral acceptability: death penalty (66% conservatives, 46% liberals), buying and wearing fur clothing (61% conservatives, 45% liberals) and medical testing on animals.

While views have remained largely stable in recent years, notable changes have occurred on several issues during the poll’s history.

Since 2001, there has been a 23% increase in respondents who see gay or lesbian relations as morally acceptable, as well as an 18% increase in those who see both divorce and sex outside of marriage as morally acceptable.

During that same time, there was an 18% increase in those viewing medical testing on animals as morally wrong.

Since 2002, respondents who feel unwed pregnancy is morally acceptable increased by 19%, while there was a 12% increase in those who see stem cell research as morally acceptable.

The full report is available here.