An analysis of 10 years worth of polling data by the Gallup organization shows that public attitudes toward same-sex marriage and marijuana, along with other social issues, changed dramatically during the 2010s.
In 2011, Gallup says, only about half of Americans supported gay marriage. They came around to the idea throughout the decade, however, and by the end of the decade, support ranged between 61% and 67%.
“The wholesale change in public attitudes about gay marriage over such a short time span represents one of Gallup’s most compelling public opinion trends,” Gallup analyst Justin McCarthy writes.
What a decade! 🏳️🌈📅https://t.co/yee0QUakQv— It Gets Better (@ItGetsBetter) December 30, 2019
Along the same lines, support for the legalization of marijuana registered a remarkable shift in attitude during the decade.
In 2010, about 46% of Americans supported the idea. By 2019, after 11 states and the District of Columbia had legalized its recreational use, roughly two-thirds of Americans said they support legalization.
Gallup says political polarization in America also increased significantly over the past 10 years.
A Gallup analysis during the presidency of Barack Obama found voters to be polarized along party lines to the greatest extent ever in the history of Gallup polling, and the trend has only accelerated under the presidency of Donald Trump.
Trump’s ascendency to the Oval Office also coincided with dramatically different attitudes about the state of the economy, Gallup says.
At the beginning of the decade, after a global economic crisis, only 9% of Americans said it was a good time to find a job. Now, a majority believe the country is on the right track economically.
Our decline in birthrates, patriotism, & religion suggest that American exceptionalism, as a practical matter, just means we're degenerating more slowly than Europe, not that we're really all that different. I hope I'm wrong, but it's not looking good.https://t.co/qd20iEsyOs— Mark Krikorian (@MarkSKrikorian) December 30, 2019
Religious leaders won’t find any solace in the Gallup data. The organization says religious faith remains prominent in the country, but continued its steady decline between 2010 and 2020.
Church membership and attendance are down to record lows, and 21% of Americans now describe themselves as having no religion, an increase from 14% in 2010 and 8% in 1999. The attitudes of U.S. Catholics, battered by a scandal over sexual abuse by priests, have suffered steep declines in confidence in organized religion.
Gallup says that among the ongoing concerns of most Americans are issues such as gun violence, terrorism, and race relations.