The percentage of Americans who say pornography is morally acceptable increased more over the past year than in all other years this decade combined.
While the acceptability of pornography still holds minority status in the United States, it has climbed to 43 per cent, according to Gallup Poll figures released June 5. The number increased by 7 per cent from last year’s figure.
In 2011, when Gallup first started asking this question, only 30 per cent said pornography was morally acceptable. As of last year, that figure had climbed to 36 per cent, a rise of 6 per cent.
While acceptance of pornography had trailed other social issues earlier this decade, such as doctor-assisted suicide, same-sex relations, sex between unmarried people and out-of-wedlock childbirth, the 2017-18 surge means that porn has eclipsed all other social issues in their growing acceptance by Americans this decade, according to Gallup.
A report on the poll’s findings by Gallup analyst Andrew Dugan said that while Americans had grown more “tolerant” on social norms over the decade, the reason behind the steep climb on pornography is “less clear.”
One theory Dugan offered is that adult film actress Stormy Daniels, a “fierce critic of President Donald Trump, has given pornography a sense of moral credibility that it previously lacked.”
Among the demographic groups broken out in Gallup’s survey, only married people held pornography less acceptable than the year before, from 37 per cent last year to 35 per cent this year, a drop of 2 per cent.
Two groups for whom a majority now believe pornography is morally acceptable are people ages 18-34, up from 48 per cent last year to 59 per cent this year, a hike of 11 per cent, and men in general, from 45 per cent in 2017 to 53 per cent in 2018, a rise of 8 per cent.
One of the biggest spikes was among men aged 18-49. Already a majority last year at 53per cent, the number soared 14 percentage points to 67 per cent this year.
Fifty per cent each of unmarried respondents and those who hold religion to be “fairly important” said they found pornography to be morally acceptable. The unmarrieds’ spike of 15 per cent from year-before numbers was the highest recorded by Gallup.
Political differences widened as well. Now, a majority of Democrats, 53 per cent, find porn morally acceptable, up from 42 per cent last year and from 32 per cent in 2011. Republican acceptance of porn grew only two percentage points from last year, 25 per cent to 27 per cent, but GOP acceptance itself is up 11 points from 2011.
Those who say religion is “very important” in their lives and those who say religion is “not very important” each registered an increase of 6 points, although the latter group was already a clear majority at 70 per cent last year, while the former group’s acceptance of porn started at 16 per cent in 2017.
Compared to men, only three-fifths of women find pornography morally acceptable. This year, 32 per cent of women found pornography to be acceptable, compared to 53 per cent of men.
The older you are, the less likely you are to approve of pornography. Thirty-six percent of men over 50, and 23 percent of women over 50, find it to be morally acceptable. Among over-55s, just 27 percent approve of pornography, although that number is up from 22 per cent in 2017.
Gallup interviewed 1,024 adults May 1-10, 70 percent by cellphone and 30 per cent by landline. The margin of error in the poll is plus or minus 4 per cent.