A week ago I came across the just released results of an interesting poll conducted by CNN delving into the same behaviors as a poll conducted by Time Magazine in 1987. It tackles several behaviors falling under the general category of morality. The survey shows an interesting shift in American attitudes in the nearly 3 decades since the Time Magazine poll.
In the 1987 Time Magazine poll, 7 out of the 8 listed behaviors were considered by the majority of Americans to be morally wrong. In 2014, only 3 of the behaviors are thought to be morally wrong by the majority of those surveyed.
Public opinion has changed most drastically on the topics of marijuana and homosexuality. Interestingly, the top 2 behaviors considered morally wrong in 1987 are the same 2 that top today's list—being married and having sex with someone else, and cheating on your taxes.
In the 1987 Time Magazine poll, the 8 issues considered (listed with the same wording used on the poll) and the percentage of those surveyed who believed the described action to be morally wrong are:
Being married and having sex with someone else 92%
Cheating on your taxes 86%
Engaging in homosexual behavior 82%
Smoking marijuana 70%
Having an abortion 62%
Looking at a pornographic magazine 58%
Living with someone when you're not married 54%
Drinking alcoholic beverages 38%
In the 2014 CNN poll, the 8 issues considered and the percentage of those surveyed who believed the described action to be morally wrong are:
Being married and having sex with someone else 93%
Cheating on your taxes 90%
Having an abortion 57%
Engaging in homosexual behavior 50%
Looking at a pornographic magazine 46%
Smoking marijuana 35%
Living with someone when you're not married 32%
Drinking alcoholic beverages 16%
The CNN poll was conducted via telephone interviews January 3-5, 2014. The article I read did not mention the criteria for selecting those interviewed for the poll.