by ANDREW SABL, The Reality-Based Community
Those who’ve been following the birth control brouhaha may be wondering what on earth Republicans think they’re doing. The answer is that they’re expressing an opinion regarding sexual morality that’s popular among their voters but nobody else: namely that unmarried people shouldn’t have sex at all.
Gallup for many years has been polling Americans on whether certain things are “morally acceptable” or “morally wrong.” Regarding “sex between an unmarried man and woman,” the latest figures I could find (from 2011) show that 60 percent regard that as “morally acceptable” and only 36 percent “morally wrong.”
(According to the .pdf of the whole survey, that 24-point spread is up from only 11 points in 2001.)
One reason old Republican men are so out of touch on this is that there’s a huge age gap in attitudes. The Gallup figures show that premarital sex is considered acceptable by 71 percent of 18-34-year-olds, but only 47 percent of those 55 and older. This makes premarital sex the third-most divisive moral issue by age, after pornography and gay or lesbian sex.
But the fascinating part is the partisan split. Gallup in 2011 didn’t break the figures down by party. But it did in 2010 (when the overall “acceptable” figure was almost identical, 59 percent). The result was:
- 67 percent of Democrats think premarital sex is morally acceptable;
- 64 percent of Independents;
- only 47 percent of Republicans.
If one did a separate breakdown by age and sex, I’m sure this would jump out even more. Probably a very small minority of older Republicans think that premarital sex is OK, but an overwhelming majority of young Democrats and Independents think so. [MORE including polling PDF for download]
Via Eric Byler