Society

Poll: Americans Pessimistic About Country's Values

| by Robert Fowler

New polling indicates that the majority of Americans believe that U.S. moral values are faring poorly. The survey found that the percentage of Americans believing that U.S. values are declining has reached its highest point since 2010.

On May 22, an annual Gallup poll found that only 17 percent of national adults rated the state of moral values in the U.S. as excellent. Meanwhile, 36 percent of respondents rated them as only fair while 45 percent said that they were poor.

Since Gallup began querying Americans about the state of their country's moral values, the majority have been pessimistic. In 2002, only 18 percent of respondents rated their country's values as excellent while 40 percent rated them as fair and the remaining 41 percent described them as poor.

The latest survey also found that 77 percent of national adults believe that U.S. moral values were worsening while only 16 percent said they were improving. The feeling of moral decline in the U.S. peaked in 2007, when 82 percent of respondents said that their country's values were deteriorating.

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Breaking down the data, 86 percent of social conservatives said that American values were getting worse while 77 percent of moderates agreed. While social liberals arrived in third place, with 71 percent stating that moral values were worsening, that demographic had a dramatic uptick in pessimism since 2015, when only 58 percent held the same sentiment.

The survey also found that Americans aged 65 and older were 18 percentage points more likely to believe that U.S. values were in a poor state compared to those aged 35 and younger. Americans living in rural areas were 21 percentage points more likely to be pessimistic about the state of American values than their city-dwelling counterparts.

Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio has been a vocal critic of the state of U.S. morality. In Kasich's 2017 book "Two Paths: America Divided or United," the former GOP presidential candidate argued that President Donald Trump's campaign was buoyed by a lapse in societal values.

"I saw Trump's reckless entreaties as a weakening of our shared American values -- even more so, a coarsening of our shared American values," Kasich wrote, according to The Columbus Dispatch. 

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The Ohio governor asserted that Trump's success "signaled a spiritual disconnect at play in this election cycle."

On April 3, another Gallup poll found that 75 percent of national adults were either extremely or very proud to be an American, a drop from 81 percent in 2016. Overall, national pride's poll numbers peaked in 2002 at 92 percent, shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

Sources: The Columbus DispatchGallup (2) / Photo Credit: 55thstreet/Flickr

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