Few Americans give the country's moral climate high marks, and the latest survey revealed that they feel it's only getting worse.
According to a Gallup Poll released Thursday, 81 percent of Americans say the state of moral values in the country as a whole is getting worse while only 11 percent believe it's getting better.
Currently, only 15 percent of Americans overall consider moral values to be "excellent" or "good;" 41 percent say the moral climate is "only fair;" and 44 percent consider the moral state to be "poor."
Republicans, compared to Democrats and independents, feel more strongly that there's a moral decline in America. In 2006, 36 percent of both Republicans and Democrats said the overall state of moral values is poor. But over the last two years, Republicans have grown to feel significantly more negative with 51 percent calling the country's current moral state poor compared to 40 percent of Democrats.
Although the report by Gallup pointed to issues of gay "marriage," pop-star misbehavior and sex scandals as possible reasons for why Republicans have become so critical of the moral state in recent years, it did not confirm whether any of those issues contributed to Republicans' views.
"Whatever the cause, this may signal that Republicans will be particularly anxious to elect a new president this November who will help to uphold or restore the values they now find lacking in the country," the report stated.
Nonetheless, a majority of Americans, across party lines, aren't optimistic about the future of their country's moral climate.
Among Republicans, the percentage of those saying the state of moral values in the country is getting worse rose from 64 percent in 2003 to 87 percent in 2008. Among independents and Democrats, a similar pattern is seen but both these groups show a bit less pessimism than the Republicans.
The Gallup Poll also found that Americans with lower income are significantly more pessimistic about the moral state in the country compared to upper-income Americans. Results from the poll show that 51 percent of Americans with a household income of less than $30,000 consider the moral state "poor" while only 35 percent of those with an income of $75,000 and more say so.
Since 2002 a majority of Americans have consistently said the moral climate is less than good and getting worse, according to the report.
Results from the recent Gallup Poll are based on telephone interviews with 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, conducted May 8-11, 2008.