4 in 5 Americans Say U.S. Gov't Needs Better Moral Leadership

Four in five adult Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, agree that the federal government needs better moral leadership, according to a new poll released Monday.

Furthermore, only one in five believes that most politicians are honest, the nationwide Harris Poll found. Democrats, however, were more likely (25 percent) to believe that most politicians are honest, in comparison to both Republicans (18 percent) and Independents (15 percent).

"At the moment, we have the lowest ever number of people who say the country is going in the right direction and near, or at, record low approval ratings for many politicians," commented Regina Corso, director of The Harris Poll, in a statement.

"Many people are angry and expect more from their politicians – better moral leadership," she added. "There is hope that a new administration will provide leadership that has a strong moral element."

Conducted within the United States between Oct. 16 and 20, the Harris poll found that nearly 3 in 5 Americans believe that most politicians would take a bribe if they could get away with it and roughly the same proportion also believe that most politicians are not honest.

The poll was released as Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) was found guilty on all seven counts of lying on Senate disclosure forms to conceal $250,000 in gifts and renovations on his Girdwood home from VECO Corp. workers.

One day after the poll's release, Massachusetts state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson (D-Boston) was arrested by the FBI on public corruption charges, the most recent legal problem for the embattled politician.