By Aaron Earls
More Americans than ever say U.S. moral values are poor, and they believe things are continuing to head in the wrong direction.
According to a new Gallup survey, 49 percent of Americans say the overall state of moral values in the country today is poor—the highest number since Gallup began asking the question in 2002.
Thirty-seven percent say moral values are “only fair,” while 14 percent say they are “excellent” or “good.”
In 2011, 38 percent said the nation’s moral values were poor, 38 percent said they were fair, and 23 percent said they were excellent or good.
“Americans have always viewed the state of U.S. morals more negatively than positively. But the latest figures are the worst to date,” says the Gallup report.
In 10 of the last 12 years, Americans have been decidedly more likely to rate national morality as poor than fair.
More than three-quarters (77 percent) say moral values are currently getting worse.
That’s slightly down from 2006 to 2008, when 81 to 82 percent thought morality was declining.
Today, 18 percent say our national moral values are getting better.
Politically, Republicans and Democrats agree on one thing—our national moral values are poor.
Gallup calculates a moral value index by combining the question about current moral values and the direction of our morality. Today, the index for Americans who are Democrats or lean Democratic is -46, while the index for Republicans and lean Republican is -48.
That’s the closest the two parties have been since 2004, when both had -40 index scores.
The recent convergence of scores happened after Donald Trump was elected president. In 2015, the index of Democrats was -14, with Republicans at -62.
At -46 today, the Democratic index score is the most negative since Gallup began asking the question.
While Americans have consistently seen the national morality as poor in Gallup’s survey, the issues they see as morally acceptable have shifted significantly.
Opposition to adultery remains strong, but Americans are less disapproving of many other issues traditionally regarded as sin, Gallup research shows.
- Americans Can’t Agree on Morality, Except That It’s Getting Worse
- Americans Blame Corporate Greed for Moral Decline
- New Research Finds the One Commandment Almost All American Support
- What Americans Say Is Moral and What’s Not
Aaron is the senior writer at Lifeway Research.