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. …