What types of issues are divisive in the U.S.?

While doctor-assisted suicide is the most controversial of the issues tested, with the public tied at 46% over its moral acceptability, Americans are fairly unified in their opposition to another life-ending choice — suicide — with 77% calling this morally wrong.

The morality of gay or lesbian relations is also relatively divisive in comparison with other issues Gallup tested; however, for the first time since this question was established in 2001, a slight majority, 52%, now finds them morally acceptable. Prior to a transition period from 2007 to 2009, when Americans were closely split on the issue, the majority had considered these relations morally wrong.

Political Divisions Greatest on Gay Relations and Abortion

Perhaps of some relevance to the 2010 midterm congressional elections, Gallup finds Republicans and Democrats the furthest apart in their reactions to several cultural matters related to sex and reproduction: gay/lesbian relations, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, having a baby outside of marriage, and premarital sex. Majorities of Democrats, compared with fewer than half of Republicans, consider each of these morally acceptable.

While there is also a wide gulf in attitudes toward the death penalty, majorities of Democrats as well as Republicans consider that policy acceptable.