Watch out America, the moral values in the country are quite low and do not seem to be improving anytime soon. The latest Gallup poll indicate that 44% of Americans claim that in general moral values in the U.S. are poor, and 72% say that they are continuing to decline. Disturbing, as this is to think about, one must question if the public had such a pessimistic outlook on moral values for an extended period of time and if certain groups of Americans are more likely to feel this way (and why).
Gallup polls show that although public opinion has not changed much over the last year, pessimism in the U.S. regarding moral values has increased since the 2002-2005 time frame, when 40% or less stated that they were poor. It is questionable, however, whether or not an average of 4% can be considered significant.
The polls do also indicate that specific groups of Americans are more likely to have a negative opinion on moral values. In short, the upper and middle classes, married folks, and churchgoers frown upon moral values in the country a bit more than those who fall outside of those categories. The most shocking part of the results, however, is the difference in general Republican and Democratic opinion.
While 56% of Democrats have a negative outlook, Republicans surpass them by a whopping 31%. This means that overall, 87% of republicans have negative assessments on moral values in the country. It cannot be denied that this difference in opinion is significant.
In order to figure out why these percentages are so high, Gallup created another survey asking Americans their opinion on what the most momentous problem with moral values is. The results were surprising in that the majority of civil society did not claim that controversial social issues, such as abortion or gay marriage were the most important. Nor was discrimination seen as extremely significant. Instead, consideration of others/tolerance/respect, lack of family structure/divorce, and lack of morals received the highest ratings.
What does this entire mean for the future of politics? Surprisingly, not much. To start off, the majority of Americans do not consider politically charged issues to be their main concern regarding the moral values in the country. Nor do moral issues appear to be one of the most important factors in one's decision on which candidate to vote for in an election. The results of yet another Gallup poll suggest that other issues, such as the economy, the federal budget deficit, and national security were more critical to their vote in the 2012 presidential election.
Overall, it may be fair to say that while Americans do not regard the moral values in this country highly, they are currently too concerned with other pressing issues to prioritize this problem. Until the financial crisis improves and the threat of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil decrease, the issue of moral values will most likely be put on hold.