Americans' Negativity About U.S. Moral Values Inches Back Up

CuppaT Child of God 2012/05/20 19:38:41

May 18, 2012

Americans' Negativity About U.S. Moral Values Inches Back Up

Lack of tolerance cited as the most important moral values problem

by Alyssa Brown

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans are more than twice as likely to rate the state of moral values in the United States as "poor" rather than as "excellent" or "good." The 43% who say the state of moral values is "poor" is up from last year, but similar to what Gallup measured from 2006 to 2010.

Trend: Rating Current State of Moral Values in U.S.

Americans remain largely pessimistic about the direction in which the nation's morals are headed, according to Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey, conducted May 3-6. Seventy-three percent of Americans say moral values in the country as a whole are getting worse, up from 69% last year. However, their outlook now is slightly less negative than in 2004 to 2008, when about eight in 10 Americans said moral values were getting worse. Nineteen percent now say values are getting better, and 5% volunteer that they are staying the same.

Trend: Outlook for Moral Values in the U.S.

The net result of these two trends is a slight decline from last year in Americans' perceptions of moral values, but still representing a more positive outlook than from 2006 through 2008. Almost seven in 10 Americans today can be classified as having a negative view of moral values -- based on the percentages who think moral values are only fair or poor and either worsening or staying the same.

Twelve percent have a positive view of morals, saying they are excellent or good and either improving or staying the same. Another 16% fall somewhere in between in their views.

Trend: Gallup Moral Values Summary Groups

Americans' views on moral values differ by party identification, with 82% of Republicans having negative opinions of U.S. moral values, compared with 72% of independents and 53% of Democrats.

To better understand what Americans mean when they say moral values in the country are getting worse, Gallup asked respondents to describe in their own words the most important problem with the state of moral values in the country today. The resulting verbatim responses were coded into categories.

Americans are most likely to cite a lack of respect or tolerance for other people as the most important problem with moral values. Other frequent responses include the decline of family structure, a lack of religion and faith, and a lack of morals in general.

Few Americans cite divisive social issues such as gay marriage or abortion. Similarly, despite the recent uproar about race relations surrounding the Trayvon Martin case, few say racism or discrimination is the most important moral values problem.

In your view, what is the most important problem with the state of moral values in the country today? May 2012 results

Bottom Line

Americans today are slightly more negative in their overall perceptions of the state of moral values in the country than they were last year, though not quite as negative as in the prior seven years. Although Americans are down on the current and future state of moral values, these generally negative opinions are unlikely to influence their vote in the upcoming presidential election. Few Americans cite a moral or social issue as the most important problem facing the country, and moral issues rank far behind other issues when U.S. voters rate the importance of various issues to their vote. Further, Americans' explanations of what they consider to be the most important moral problems facing the country focus on general issues of civility, family structure, religion, and morals in general -- rather than more politically charged issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

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  • Waldorf 2012/05/20 21:49:47
    "Americans are most likely to cite a lack of respect or tolerance for other people as the most important problem with moral values. "

    What a joke! The most important problem supposedly is not quietly allowing others to lack moral values, taking down society with them. See how that works?
  • CuppaT ... Waldorf 2012/05/20 22:07:08
    CuppaT   Child of God
    Hmmmmmmm - That really makes no sense whatsoever.
  • Waldorf CuppaT ... 2012/05/20 22:16:10
    The popular vote is for a permissive society, i.e. one with no moral compass.
  • CuppaT ... Waldorf 2012/05/20 22:30:20
    CuppaT   Child of God
    So that makes it ok? If everyone jumps into the fires of hell, will you do it too. Just because it's the popular thing to do?

  • Waldorf CuppaT ... 2012/05/20 22:33:54
    You misunderstand. I am against an increasingly permissive society and was mocking it.
  • CuppaT ... Waldorf 2012/05/20 22:47:12
    CuppaT   Child of God
    Sorry. My apologies. The internet doesn't allow for anything but black and white interpretations. I need to learn to read between the lines and not take everything at face value.

    Thanks for clarifying.
  • Waldorf CuppaT ... 2012/05/20 22:49:48
    Perhaps I was too vague. Onward and upward.
  • CuppaT ... Waldorf 2012/05/20 23:39:46
    CuppaT   Child of God
  • Metaldane 2012/05/20 19:48:41
    Makes sense we do have a bunch of whiners here people need to learn theres more to life then politics and judging others where has the value of humbleness towards others gone.
  • CuppaT ... Metaldane 2012/05/20 21:34:17
    CuppaT   Child of God
    Pretty much where all the other values have gone. Done the tubes. It's very sad to see this happening.
  • Metaldane CuppaT ... 2012/05/20 21:45:11
    In my opinion not much has changed from even a decade ago people tend to glamorize the past so what the economy got bad we have a bubble economy it pops every decade or so as for values people have been screaming those have been going down every generation our society is merely changing that's it it happens all the time if it didn't we'd simply stagnate.

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