Two-thirds of US adults say gambling morally okay; polygamy, not so much

gallup-poll-gambling-moralityTwo-thirds of Americans find gambling to be morally acceptable behavior, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll, which was based on a phone survey (landline and mobile) of randomly sampled US adults last month, revealed that 67% of Americans find gambling to be “morally acceptable” while just 27% viewed gambling as “morally wrong.”

The poll (viewable here) queried respondents on 19 contentious subjects, of which gambling ranked fourth highest in terms of moral acceptability and third last in terms of being ‘wrong’.

Only birth control, divorce and sex out of wedlock were deemed more morally acceptable to gambling. For the record, the categories that scored lowest on the moral acceptability scale were suicide (18%), polygamy (14%), cloning humans (13%) and married men and women having an affair (10%).

The 67% positive view of gambling is unchanged from a similar Gallup poll last year, which marked a new high for gambling’s favorable rating. Gallup has been asking this question since 2003, and the favorable number has been in the low- to mid-60s for most of that stretch, with the exception of a dip down to 58% in 2009.

The morally wrong percentage was similarly unchanged from 2015, which also marked a record low for this response. The highest unfavorable number over the past 14 years was 36% in 2009, which clearly appears to be an outlier year, possibly affected by the financial crash of 2008 and the ensuing media mentions of investment bankers ‘gambling’ with their clients’ money.

With most of the categories, there was a significant split between what was morally acceptable to Democrats vs. Republicans, and gambling was no different. Around 74% of Democrats thought gambling was okay compared to just 63% of Republicans and 66% of independents.

On the whole, Democrats were more likely to view activities as morally acceptable, except in categories like the death penalty, wearing fur and medical testing on animals, all of which Republicans found less distasteful than Dems.

Earlier this year, a similar survey by Christian polling group LifeWay Research found that 64% of Americans found it morally acceptable to wager on sporting events, while just 31% found such activity morally wrong.