Traditional values such as religious faith, patriotism, having children, and other priorities are becoming less important for Americans, according to a new Wall Street Journal-NORC poll.
The one thing, though, that has grown in importance over the past 25 years in such surveys is money, which was cited by 43% in the new survey, up from 31% in 1998, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The poll, conducted with the nonpartisan research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, further found the United States is sharply divided according to political party about trends such as the use of gender-neutral pronouns and racial diversity in business.
According to the survey conducted mostly online of 1,019 people from March 1-13:
- 38% said patriotism is very important to them, compared to when the Journal first asked the question in 1998 when 70% said patriotism was very important.
- 39% said religion is very important, down from 62% in 1998.
- 58% said tolerance for others was very important, compared to four years ago when 80% said it is very important.
- 23% of younger adults said having children is very important.
"These differences are so dramatic, it paints a new and surprising portrait of a changing America," pollster Bill McInturff, who worked on a previous Journal survey with NBC News, commented. "Perhaps the toll of our political division, COVID, and the lowest economic confidence in decades is having a startling effect on our core values."
All age groups, including seniors, said they attach far less importance to certain values than when they were asked in polls in 1998 and 2019, but younger Americans tended to place low importance:
- 23% of adults under 30 said patriotism is very important to them, compared with 59% of seniors 65 and older.
- 31% of younger respondents said religion is very important, compared with 55% of seniors.
Meanwhile, just 21% of those surveyed said the United States stands above all other countries, while half said the United States is one of the greatest countries, and 27% said other countries rank better.
Jennifer Benz, vice president of public affairs and media research at NORC, said that some of the views expressed may have been affected by the polls' findings on pessimism concerning the economy.
"People are just sort of down on everything about the country," Benz commented.
Meanwhile, many answers on social issues varied, depending on political party:
- Just over 50% of Republicans said society has gone too far concerning businesses promoting racial and ethnic diversity, compared to 7% of Democrats.
- 61% of Democrats said diversity efforts have not gone far enough, compared with 14% of Republicans.
- Three-quarters of Republicans polled said society has gone too far in accepting transgender people, while 56% of Democrats said society has not done enough.
- 63% said that companies shouldn't take public stands on social and political issues, while 36% of people said companies should take stands. This included 80% of Republicans who oppose companies taking a stand to 56% of Democrats saying they agree with the idea.
- Half said they do not like being asked to use gender-neutral pronouns, compared to 18% who were in favor. This included 30% of people under the age of 35 favoring the practice, compared to 9% of seniors.
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