Poll: Americans Say Moral Values Getting Worse

A new Gallup survey released Thursday found that eight of ten Americans feel the nation's moral values are getting worse – a record high for the annual poll since it began in 2002.

Eight of ten Americans feel the country’s moral values are getting worse – a record high for the annual Gallup survey since it began in 2002.

According to the poll of 1,002 adults conducted May 8-11 and released yesterday, 81 percent of adults say the nation’s “state of moral values” is getting worse, compared to only 11 percent who say values are improving.

The latest figure marks a jump of 14 points since 2002 and a four point jump since 2005. The negative outlook on morality since 2002 took the greatest jump among independents (at 18 points) and Republicans (16 points). The change among Democrats was relatively low at 6 points.

Additionally, the survey revealed that 85 percent of Americans view the “state of moral values” as fair or poor, while 14 percent say the state is in excellent or good.

Republicans and Democrats varied widely on their outlook of what is morally permissible. Democrats were more likely to approve marriage-related issues while Republicans were more lenient on issues concerning animal-rights.

According to the results, 53 percent of Democrats said homosexuality is morally acceptable, only 36 percent of Republicans said the same. In regards to divorce, 71 percent of Democrats viewed it as morally acceptable while 59 percent of Republicans said the same. Some 65 percent of Democrats approved sex between an unmarried man and woman, compared to 50 percent of Republicans. Also, 57 percent of Democrats approved of having a baby outside of marriage, while 43 percent of Republicans felt the same.

For issues relating to cloning animals, 31 percent of republicans approved, compared to 28 percent of democrats. Some 75 percent of Republicans also approved of buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur while only 55 percent of Democrats answered the same. Medical testing on animals was also approved by more Republicans (69 percent) compared to Democrats (56 percent).

However, answers were mixed in regards to life issues. Democrats were more likely to approve abortion (43 percent vs. 30 percent of Republicans), medical research from stem cells (69 percent vs. 53 percent of Republicans), and doctor-assisted suicide (53 percent vs. 45 percent of Republicans). Meanwhile, Republicans were more likely to approve the death penalty (82 percent vs. 63 percent of Democrats).

The poll of 1,002 adults was conducted May 8-11 and is part of Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey.

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