America’s values keep sliding lower, poll shows

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Does America need a moral facelift? Many Republicans say yes. And so do a lot of Democrats, though fewer than in previous years, according to a recent survey.

A large majority of Americans – 73 percent – said the country’s moral values are sliding, according to a Gallup poll released last week. Many of this majority are Republicans.

Only 18 percent  of the 1,025 adults surveyed early last month said the “state of moral values” is good or excellent. Apparently, most only meant “good,” because Gallup surveyors said only 1 percent to 3 percent have described American morality as “excellent” in any year since 2002. The polling company said 79 percent rated the current state of values as as “poor” or “only fair.”

Over 15 years, heavy majorities have viewed the direction of U.S. moral values as negative. In 2002 and 2003, 67 percent said the country’s values were getting worse, rising to an overwhelming 82 percent in 2007. The figure has hovered around 73 percent since 2012.

Politically, the breakdown of morality pessimists lean right, and have since 2007. More than 8-in-10 Republicans and independents who lean right see a downward trajectory in terms of America’s moral values, while 61 percent of Democrats see things that way, Gallup said.

Before 2007, roughly equal proportions of Republicans and Democrats, along with like-minded independents, saw America’s moral values headed lower, Gallup’s annual tracking poll shows.

The divergence led to a sharp decline in the percentage of Democrats and left-leaning independents who said moral values were declining, to a low of 56 percent four months after President Barack Obama first took office in 2009. Among Republicans and right-leaners, 88 percent saw values sliding in 2007 and has remained in the mid-80s in most years since then.

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or on Twitter @karabettis.