Poll: Ratings of America’s Moral Values at New Low

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Americans’ ratings of the state of moral values in the United States have fallen to the lowest point in the two decades Gallup News has been tracking the trend.

A new poll found that 54 percent of U.S. adults rate moral values in the United States as “poor,” which is a four-percentage point increase since 2022 and the first time a majority of U.S. adults have ranked moral values as “poor.”

A third (33 percent) of Americans say U.S. moral values are “only fair,” while 10 percent say “good” and only 1 percent say “excellent.” 

The survey was done conducted with 1,011 adults in the U.S. between May 1-24, 2023. The margin of sampling error is ±4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. 

“Throughout the trend, Americans have been more negative than positive in their views of the nation’s moral values, but the latest readings, from a May 1-24 poll, are substantially worse than the trend averages,” according to the poll report. “Since 2002, an average of 43 percent of U.S. adults have said the state of moral values is poor, while 38 percent have rated it as only fair and 18 percent as excellent or good.”

Gallup News found that the increased negative rating of moral values was spurred on by the views of independent voters. Fifty-one percent of independents rate U.S. moral poorly this year, which is up seven points from last year and is the highest recorded percentage for that affiliation. 

Republicans have the highest negative view of American morals, with 74 percent ranking U.S. morals “poor” this year, up two points from last year. Democrats’ poor moral values rating also increased two points in 2023, however, only 38 percent of Democrats rank U.S. moral values as “poor.”  

Additionally, a record high percentage of Americans (83 percent) say morals are getting worse, which is up five points from 2022 and 16 points from 2021. That rating previously reached a high of 82 percent in 2007, and 44 percent of Americans at that time rate moral values as “poor.”

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Only 12 percent say moral values are improving, “which is the lowest percentage since 2008,” the poll report notes.

By political affiliation, Republicans are most likely to say values are getting worse (97 percent), followed by 80 percent of independents, and 73 percent of Democrats. Gallup News found that Republicans’ views about U.S. moral values have been crumbling since Joe Biden took office in 2021.

For Democrats and independents, both groups’ outlooks improved in 2021, only to return to levels seen during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Gallup News noted that it has asked respondents in previous years to name the most important problem with the state of moral values in the U.S. Last year, the top response was “the way people treat each other, or consideration of others,” according to the poll report.

“Partisans’ views of the top moral problem differed in 2022, with Democrats almost twice as likely as Republicans to cite a lack of consideration. Republicans were about equally as likely to name a lack of faith or religion as they were to mention a lack of consideration,” the report continued. 

Other surveys show that fewer and fewer Americans rank traditional American values such as patriotism and religion as “very important,” but are giving more priority to money and value family time.

At the same time, a plurality rejects transgenderism and corporate queering, while large chunks of all demographics support the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Another recent poll from Gallup News found that Americans across all demographics and political affiliations are increasingly identifying as “socially conservative,” as the Biden administration and Democrats push transgenderism for minors, abortion on demand, and a divisive equity agenda in major institutions such as the military and in education.

However, that survey does not appear to define exactly what being socially conservative means, and there is much debate within the conservative movement about what is actually being “conserved,” as left-wing ideals erode traditional structures.


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