Note to Press: Gallup finds Americans Troubled by Moral Climate

By: E&P Staff In taking a look today at what it called its ?morality meter,? the Gallup Poll organization revealed that 59% of Americans are somewhat (29%) or very (30%) dissatisfied with the United States' moral and ethical climate. Only 7% are ?very satisfied,? with 33% somewhat satisfied.

But what do Americans consider the "moral and ethical climate"? Contrary to what many may believe, it includes a wide range of issues, Gallup reported, based on follow-up interviews with some of the poll's respondents: Sexual and violent content in television and movies, racial prejudice, rampant divorce, corporate scandals, gay rights (pro and con), plagiarism in schools, and more.

For instance, a 37-year-old black respondent from Florida called negative images of blacks on television, in the movies, and videos ?immoral and unethical.?

So ?moral values? do not, in fact, fall into easy red state/blue state formulations. It may surprise some that Republicans and Democrats are equally satisfied/dissatisfied with the moral and ethical climate in America. ?In 2001, 42% of Democrats were satisfied with the moral and ethical climate, compared with 31% of Republicans. That gap has narrowed each year and the latest survey shows 41% of both Republicans and Democrats are satisfied,? Gallup reported today.

The poll also revealed an age gap, with nearly half of those aged 18 to 29 satisfied with the moral and ethical climate in America, while only one-third of adults aged 65 and older are satisfied.

When explaining why he is "somewhat satisfied" with the moral and ethical climate in America today, an 18-year-old from Texas says, "Although I still think there is a lot more work to be done, I'm encouraged that the government has started to crack down on unethical business practices. And I am also glad Americans are beginning to accept gays as equals."

A 58-year-old man from Florida who is "very dissatisfied" with America's moral and ethical climate said: "Corporations are not accountable for their actions; the bankruptcy laws are too lenient; too many credit cards are offered to people who can't afford to get into debt. It seems the more money you have, the more you can get away with in this country," he said. "No one's trying to help the average American anymore."


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