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Gallup poll shows shift in views on morality over last decade

Cheating on a spouse came in dead last when 1,535 Americans were asked the moral acceptability of 20 different behaviors, according to a new Gallup poll.

“On the other hand, divorce is among the most morally acceptable behaviors: 68 percent of respondents said it's okay, making it the second-most acceptable on the list, after birth control (which 91 percent of respondents approve of),” said an article in The Atlantic. “So it seems people don't disapprove of spouses ending a marriage, but they do have a problem with husbands and wives sleeping around when they're in one,” wrote Eleanor Barkhorn.

Gallup's summary focused on the shift in attitudes on certain issues since 2001. “Their acceptance of gay and lesbian relations has increased the most, up 19 percentage points in the past 12 years — to a record high of 59 percent today. Americans' tolerance toward having a baby outside of marriage is also now much greater, up 15 points since 2001, to the current 60 percent,” it said.

Tolerance hasn't risen across the board: The percentage of Americans who approve of buying and wearing clothes made of animal fur, the death penalty, doctor-assisted suicide, and medical testing on animals all dropped slightly, while the number who find medical testing on animals morally acceptable is down 9 percent between 2001 and 2013.

“A majority of Americans continue to say seven of the 19 items measured are morally wrong — married men and women having an affair, cloning humans, polygamy, suicide, pornography, sex between teenagers (measured for the first time this year), and cloning animals. Attitudes toward two items — doctor-assisted suicide and abortion — are fairly evenly split, with less than half of Americans seeing each as either morally acceptable or morally unacceptable,” the release said.

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