Poll Shows Half of Americans Give ‘Poor’ Rating to U.S. Moral Values, ‘Record High’

Smash-and-grab robbery in Brea, California
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A record percentage of Americans rate U.S. moral values as ‘poor,’ a Gallup poll released on Wednesday found.

Gallup has been tracking Americans’ view of U.S. morals for the past two decades and noted that while negative views have been the “norm,” the current 50 percent poor rating is the highest on record by one percentage point. Thirty-seven percent of those polled say U.S. morals are “only fair.” Only one percent say the state of moral values is “excellent,” and 12 percent say “good.”

According to the poll report:

These findings, from Gallup’s May 2-22 Values and Beliefs poll, are generally in line with perceptions since 2017 except for a slight improvement in views in 2020 when Donald Trump was running for reelection. On average since 2002, 43 percent of U.S. adults have rated moral values in the U.S. as poor, 38 percent as fair and 18 percent as excellent or good.

Gallup credits Republicans’ “increasingly negative assessment” of the country’s moral values as mostly responsible for the record high rating. Republicans’ poor rating of moral values spiked after former President Donald Trump left office and is at its highest (72 percent) since Gallup began polling on the issue.

The report continues:

At the same time, 36 percent of Democrats say the state of moral values is poor, while a 48 percent plurality rate it as only fair and 15 percent as excellent or good. Independents’ view of the current state of moral values is relatively stable and closer to Democrats’ than Republicans’ rating, with 44 percent saying it is poor, 40 percent only fair and 16 percent excellent or good.

However, both Republicans (93 percent) and Democrats (68 percent) say moral values in the U.S. are going downhill. Gallup noted that Democrats have gotten “significantly more pessimistic” since President Joe Biden took office, when 49 percent thought values were declining. Seventy-four percent of independents say morals are getting worse.

Most Americans (18 percent) point to “consideration of others” as the “most important problem with the state of moral values in the country today.” That percentage was the same when Americans were asked the same question in 2012.

Between five and eight percent of U.S. adults also cite racism, lack of faith/religion, lack of morals, sense of entitlement, and lack of family structure as a reason for the degeneration of morals in the U.S. 

By political affiliation, 23 percent of Democrats, 13 percent of Republicans, and 17 percent of independents point to a lack of consideration. Republicans (11 percent) are more likely to cite lack of faith or religion. Democrats (10 percent) and independents (8 percent) are more likely to cite racism as a top moral issue than Republicans (4 percent). 

Gallup polled 1,007 U.S. adults between May 2-22, 2022. The margin of sampling error is ±4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

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