Nearly half of American adults believe the "state of moral values" in the United States is poor, yet there is a stark partisan divide on the issue, according to a new Gallup survey.
The poll of 1,016 adults was released on June 16 and found that 47 percent of adults rate the state of moral values as poor, 37 percent as "only fair" and 15 percent as "good." Only 1 percent of Americans say the state of moral values in the U.S. today is "excellent."
Although the 47 percent who answered "poor" matches the 2019 reading and is similar to the 2017 finding, the newest survey found a wide gap between Republicans and Democrats on the issue.
An all-time high of 66 percent of Republicans say the state of moral values is poor, compared to 30 percent of Democrats who answered that way.
Only seven percent of Republicans rate the state of moral affairs as excellent or good, while 22 percent of Democrats answered that way.
"Americans have long been dismayed by the state of moral values in the country," Gallup's Lydia Saad wrote in an online analysis. "... But partisan shifts suggest that the transfer of power in Washington has had a stronger than usual effect on how partisans perceive the country's moral compass, with Democrats now the most optimistic they have been in two decades and Republicans the least."
Meanwhile, 67 percent of Americans say they believe the state of moral values is getting worse, while 28 percent say they are getting better. Here, too, there are major political divides, with 92 percent of Republicans but 49 percent of Democrats saying moral values are getting worse. Only seven percent of Republicans say moral values are getting better; for Democrats, it's 46 percent.
"Republicans' views of the state of moral values in the country have grown sharply worse over the past year, spanning the 2020 election and shift from Republican President Donald Trump to Democratic President Joe Biden," Saad wrote. "... Before now, Republicans' ratings of moral values had been worsening slowly, with no comparable surge in concern following the transfer of presidential leadership from Republican to Democratic control in 2009, nor decrease when Trump replaced Barack Obama in 2017."
The 27 percent of Republicans labeling U.S. moral values as "only fair," and the 7 percent calling them "excellent" or "good" are at record lows, Saad wrote.
Photo courtesy: Jacek Dylag/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.