More than a third of Americans say it is acceptable under some circumstances to stop paying a mortgage and walk away from the home, a survey by the Pew Research Center found.

A majority (59%) of those surveyed called it unacceptable to abandon a home loan, 19% said it was acceptable and 17% said it depends on the circumstances, an answer that was not on the survey, said Rich Morin, a Pew Research senior editor in Washington. Of the respondents, 63% owned homes and 31% were renters.

"We all know the percentage of people who walked away has been increasing," Morin said in a telephone interview. "Whether that builds sympathy or resentment, I think, remains to be seen."

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