Poll: Moral values in US are declining
Republicans, especially, see our moral compass pointing south.
A Gallup poll released this week indicates that most Americans are very pessimistic about the future of the country’s moral values.
In the poll of 1,535 randomly selected adults, 72 percent said moral values in the country as a whole are getting worse. Twenty percent said values are getting better, and 6 percent said they are staying the same.
Each May, Gallup conducts a Values and Beliefs poll. This year’s poll marks few changes from 2012’s, indicating that Americans remain down on the future state of moral values. However, more respondents have a somewhat sunnier view than did a few years ago, when more than 80 percent thought values were in decline in the years 2006 through 2008.
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Another Gallup poll released earlier this month took the temperature on the nation’s current (rather than future) view of moral values, and showed that 44 percent of Americans rate the state of moral values in the U.S. as “poor.”
The net result of the two polls’ trends, according to Gallup, is that seven in 10 Americans have a negative view of our morals today and think that values are either worsening or, at best, staying the same.
Gallup subdivides its survey participants by asking them to identify themselves by political party, annual household income, marital status and frequency of church attendance (weekly, nearly weekly/monthly, or “less often”).
On balance, Republicans appear far more likely than Democrats and independents to have negative assessments of moral values, though majorities of all partisan groups have negative perspectives. The negative view of moral values in the U.S. was also more prominent among those who identify themselves as upper- and middle-income ($30K/year and up), those who are married and those who attend church regularly.
A separate poll conducted last year asked Americans for their views on the most important problem with the state of our moral values. Americans were more likely to base their opinions on the perceived lack of respect or tolerance for other people than on divisive socio-political issues such as abortion or same-sex marriage.
In that poll, 18 percent mentioned “Consideration of others, compassion, caring, tolerance or respect” as the most important moral problems we face. Ten percent cited lack of family structure, and an equal 10 percent mentioned lack of faith or religion. The issues of jobs, the economy and pro-choice/women’s rights were each mentioned by 1 percent of respondents.
Image: Courtesy of Gallup, gallup.com
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