Americans Divide On Whether Working Or Stay-At-Home Moms Deserve More Respect

August 15, 2012, 4:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 8/11/2012) In an age in which corporal punishment is generally frowned upon, a fairly large number of Americans think that disciplining children by spanking them may on occasion be appropriate. By 58%-29%, respondents in the latest Economist/YouGov poll believe that it "is sometimes necessary to discipline a child with a good, hard spanking."

Americans do not divide much along age, race, regional, or income lines on the issue of spanking. They do, however, divide according to political ideology (67% of conservatives and 63% of moderates think it is sometimes necessary to spank a child, but only 43% of liberal do) as well as gender (63% of men think spanking is sometimes necessary, but only 54% of women do).

Americans are more closely divided on the issue of whether moms who give up their careers to stay at home or moms who work outside the home while raising their children deserve more respect for their choices. Here, however, Americans have the more socially liberal position. 24% say that moms who give up their careers to stay at home have made the more respectable choice, while 38% say that about moms who maintain their careers. However, 38% offer no opinion.

On this matter, the main demographic categories that cleave Americans are race and ideology. 55% of Blacks and 46% of Hispanics respect the choice to maintain a career more, while only 35% of whites agree. And while self-described liberals and moderates are more than twice as likely to respect the choices of moms who maintain their careers, conservatives respect the choice made by stay-at-home moms more by a margin of 40%-24%.