Great Debates. (Opinion Pulse)

By Bowman, Karlyn | The American Enterprise, March 2002 | Go to article overview

Great Debates. (Opinion Pulse)


Bowman, Karlyn, The American Enterprise


Three quarters of all Americans see the country as united and in agreement about the most important values, and large numbers believe the events of September 11 brought the country closer together. In these pages, the editors look at Americans' views in a number of areas that continue to generate divisions and controversy.

Question: Which of the following statements comes
closer to your view ...?

Americans are united and in agreement about the most
important values                                       74%

Americans are greatly divided when it comes
to the most important values                           24%

No opinion                                              2%

Source: Gallup/CNN/USA Today, November-December 2001.

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Most polls today show that Americans favor doctor-assisted suicide for people who are terminally ill.

Question: Do you think ...?

The law should allow doctors to comply with the wishes
of a dying patient in severe distress to have his
or her life ended                                        65%

Should not                                               29%

Not sure                                                  6%

Source: Harris Interactive/Time/CNN, December 2001.

Note: Table made from pie chart.
Question: Do you think ...?

The phrase "A year that brought the country closer together
than it has ever been" describes the year 2001                83%

Does not describe                                             15%

Not sure                                                       2%

Source: Harris Interactive/Time/CNN, December 2001.

Note: Table made from pie chart.

By huge margins, Americans oppose efforts to clone human beings. Opinion is less clear on using animals for therapeutic cloning purposes.

Question: Do you ...?

Oppose cloning that is designed specifically to
result in the birth of a human being              88%

No opinion                                         3%

Approve                                            9%

Source: Gallup/CNN/USA Today, November, 2001.

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Over the past 30 years, Americans have refused to put themselves in either the pro-choice or pro-life camps. Most people come down in the middle, supporting abortion in limited circumstances.

Question: Do you think ...?

Abortion should be ...

Legal under any circumstance             26%
Legal only under certain circumstances   56
Illegal in all circumstances             17

Source: Gallup/CNN/USA Today, August 2001.

Note: Table made from pie chart.

The debate over prayer in public schools in elite circles never involved many rank-and-file Americans, who favor it by solid margins.

Question: Let me read you two positions on school prayer. Between
these positions, which do you tend to side with more ...?

Government should allow prayer in
public schools                        65%

Government should preserve a clear
separation between church and state   31%

No opinion                             4%

Source: Hart-Teeter Research for NBC News/Wall
Street Journal, June 1999.

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Americans want to reduce immigration, but they also recognize the important contributions of immigrant groups.

Question: Should ...?

Legal immigration should be decreased   59%

Increased                                9%

Kept at its present level               29%

Not sure                                 3%

Source: CBS News/New York Times, December 2001.

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Pollsters began to ask questions about homosexual marriage in the late 1980s. Most polls find the public opposed to the idea, although there is some support for job-related benefits.

Do you think...?

Marriages between homosexuals should
not be recognized by the law as valid   62%

No opinion                               4%

Should                                  34%

Source: Gallup/CNN/USA Today, January 2001. … 

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