In 1987, 73% of white evangelical Protestants agreed that school boards should have the right to fire homosexual teachers. Today, just 42% do so. And in 1987, 60% of white evangelicals believed that AIDS might be a punishment for immoral sexual behavior; today just 38% believe this.
In 1987, about half of the surveyâ€™s respondents (49%) gave conservative answers to at least four of the six questions. In 2007, just 30% did so. This trend has occurred in all major social, political, and demographic groups in the population. While Republicans remain significantly more conservative than Democrats or independents on social values, they too have become substantially less conservative over this period.
The decline in social conservatism is being hastened by generational change, as each new age cohort has come into adulthood with less conservative views on the questions than did their predecessors.