An alarming 70 percent of Americans now believe that divorce is "morally acceptable," according to a recent poll by Gallup's 2008 Values and Beliefs survey.
The new figure – the highest on record – represents an 11 percent increase from just 7 years ago and a 3 percent increase from 2 years ago. Only 22 percent of Americans said they believed divorce was "morally wrong," according to the results.
The acceptability of divorce among Americans was ranked higher than all of the other 16 ethical issues surveyed – including the death penalty, gambling, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, abortion and medical research on animals. Additionally, divorce has risen faster in moral acceptability among Americans than any of the other ethical issues.
Although the recent results revealed that the acceptability of divorce has risen steadily to the point where it is now "morally acceptable by a majority of nearly every major demographic category of Americans," respondents who identified themselves as "conservative," "religious," or over 65 years in age were more likely to say that divorce was "morally wrong."
Respondents who identified themselves as "liberals," "independents," and "non-religious," on the other hand, registered the highest number of responses that said divorce was "morally acceptable." Nearly 91 percent of those who said religion was "not very important" in their lives said divorce was "morally acceptable," according to the results.
While the recent poll reveals a steady and alarming rise in the acceptability of divorce, more than 70 percent of Americans continued to rate suicide, cloning humans, polygamy, and "married men and women having an affair" as "morally unacceptable."
The Gallup poll results were based on telephone surveys of over 1,000 adults.