Gallup has provided us with the lay of the land on moral choices, an especially interesting opinion poll, and one that's gist for PR strategies. Doctor-assisted suicide is the most controversial cultural issue in Gallup's 2011 Values and Beliefs poll (45 percent morally acceptable to 48 percent morally wrong), with married men and women having an affair the least controversial. (That's wrong, 91 percent to 7 percent.) On some issues, though — pornography, gay relationships, and premarital sex — there are sharp differences based on age.
Other issues on which there is a strong feeling of disapproval are polygamy, cloning humans, and suicide. Much more closely divided are abortion, having a baby outside of marriage, gay or lesbian relations, and medical testing on animals. Gambling is viewed as acceptable by 2 to 1 (64 to 31 percent) and pornography disapproved by an opposite overall margin (30 to 66 percent). In age categories, though, 42 percent of those aged 18 to 34 found pornography morally acceptable vs. only 19 percent of those 55 and older. (It was the first time Gallup asked about pornorgapy.)
An interesting research project would be to compare earlier year results of the Gallup Values and Beliefs poll, which can be Googled.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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