Public Perception of Pornography as a Social Problem

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
3

1970 respondents were asked to name "what you think are the two or three most serious problems facing the country today?" At the height of the Vietnam War, not surprisingly, more than half named this event the most important issue, followed by racial conflict and civil rights, and thirdly, by the economy (36% and 32%). Only two percent said they were concerned about erotic materials. The 1985 Gallup survey asked the question of perceived importance in a different way: by evaluating the problem relative to other social problems and asking the respondent to judge whether progress was being made to solve these problems (see Table 9).

Table 9

Perceptions of Pornography as a Social Problem
(1985)

Making Progress

Losing Ground

Staying About Same

Don't know

a) Preventing violent crime

19%

37%

42%

2%

b) Stopping drug addiction

28

42

26

4

c) Controlling pornography

20

33

38

9

d) Dealing w/air pollution

38

20

36

6

Question: I am going to name a number of problems facing the nation. For each, tell me if you feel this is a problem on which we are making progress, losing ground, or staying about the same.

Copyright 1985, by Newsweek, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by Permission.