The majority of Americans consider drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana to be morally acceptable, according to a new Gallup poll.
For the first time, Gallup included alcohol and marijuana on its annual Values and Beliefs survey, which asks people to rate 22 different practices as morally acceptable or morally wrong:
- Birth control, 91 percent to 6 percent
- Drinking alcohol, 78 percent to 19 percent
- Divorce, 76 percent to 20 percent
- Sex between an unmarried man and woman, 69 percent to 28 percent
- Gambling, 69 percent to 28 percent
- Gay or lesbian relations, 67 percent to 30 percent
- Medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos, 66 percent to 29 percent
- Smoking marijuana, 65 percent to 31 percent
- Having a baby outside of marriage, 65 percent to 32 percent
- The death penalty, 62 percent to 33 percent
- Buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur, 60 percent to 37 percent
- Medical testing on animals, 54 percent to 43 percent
- Doctor assisted suicide, 54 percent to 42 percent
- Abortion, 43 percent to 48 percent
- Pornography, 43 percent to 55 percent
- Sex between teenagers, 42 percent to 54 percent
- Cloning animals, 40 percent to 51 percent
- Suicide, 20 percent to 75 percent
- Polygamy, 19 percent to 78 percent
- Cloning humans, 16 percent to 81 percent
- Married men and women having an affair, 10 percent to 88 percent
According to previous polls by Gallup, Americans have gradually become more permissive of most of these practices over time. While most subgroups find drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana to be morally acceptable, certain groups, such as those who attend church weekly, are more likely to find it morally wrong.
"In nearly every key subgroup, a greater percentage say drinking alcohol is morally acceptable than says the same about smoking marijuana," writes Gallup senior editor Jeffrey M. Jones. "Young adults, ideological liberals and moderates are notable exceptions, as these three groups are about equally likely to find the two practices morally acceptable. In contrast to liberals and moderates, ideological conservatives are far more likely" to view drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana as morally acceptable.
"Most Americans do not object on moral grounds to people drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana," Jones concludes. "Of the two, they are more likely to see drinking alcohol as an acceptable behavior, perhaps because it is legal in all states while smoking marijuana is not. Some states have recently legalized marijuana and many others are considering doing so, perhaps removing some of the stigma associated with the drug. But with roughly two-thirds of the public saying marijuana use is morally acceptable, it seems there will not be sufficient opposition to thwart attempts to make it legal."
Gallup polled 1,024 adults across the country by phone from May 1-10, 2018, with a margin of error of 4 percentage points. The results for drinking alcohol are based on a random sample of 542 adults, while the results for smoking marijuana are based on a random sample of 482 adults, and these results have a margin of error of percentage points.
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