Is Morality in Decline? Most Americans See Broad Moral Decline; A Monitor Poll Shows That Most Americans Think Their Country's Moral Standards Are Falling and That Stronger Families Must Be the Solution

By John Dillin Managing editor of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, December 16, 1998 | Go to article overview

Is Morality in Decline? Most Americans See Broad Moral Decline; A Monitor Poll Shows That Most Americans Think Their Country's Moral Standards Are Falling and That Stronger Families Must Be the Solution


John Dillin Managing editor of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Across the land, Americans see falling moral and ethical standards. It's evident on all sides - in the Oval Office, at the local multiplex, on the TV shows beamed into their homes.

A new nationwide Monitor poll finds Americans concerned that this moral miasma is making it tougher to overcome problems like violence, drug use, and teen pregnancy.

President Clinton has done a poor job of moral leadership, the survey found. But as Congress wrestled with impeachment, people generally refused to cast a stone at the president. His standards are "about the same" as most presidents', many Americans said. Instead of attacking Mr. Clinton, they said that turning around the moral crisis should begin with strengthening the family and emphasizing spiritual values. Widespread evidence of moral decay can be found in every American city: Sleazy movies, drug pushers, vulgar TV shows, neglected children, broken families. Americans - viewing this picture - say they are concerned that standards of morals and ethics in the United States have slipped badly as the 20th century draws to a close, according to a new nationwide poll commissioned by The Christian Science Monitor. Many of those surveyed express concern that levels of morality and ethics will sink even lower before things begin to improve. The national opinion poll of 800 Americans was conducted for the Monitor by Technometrica Institute of Policy and Politics (TIPP), based in Oradell, N.J. A majority of those interviewed said: * Today's moral climate in the US is worse than it was in the 1950s. * America's moral decline has made the crisis of crime, violence, drug use, and teen pregnancy significantly worse. * Television, movies, and pop music are all dragging down the nation's values. * President Clinton has done a poor job of moral leadership, though many Americans (47 percent) say his moral standards are "about the same" as most other presidents. * Religion and the family have great impact on the nation's morals, but their influence is declining. * Education should have a positive effect on morals, but it is failing to fulfill that responsibility. * Religious leaders are highly rated for their moral values. But several other major groups, including politicians and business executives, get an overall negative rating on morals and ethics. The Monitor/TIPP survey was conducted by telephone, with numbers chosen randomly by computer to ensure an accurate scientific sample. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The survey found that if Americans have one solution to the nation's moral decline, it is this: Strengthen the family. One of those polled, Mike Hahs of San Clemente, Calif., a father of four, says that ultimately, maintaining morality is "primarily" a role for the family. "I don't delegate the teaching of morality to schools," he says. "That's largely my responsibility." The poll results show that a large cross section of Americans would agree with Mr. Hahs. How serious is the problem? From Los Angeles to New York, Americans are universal in their concerns about the nation's declining levels of morality and ethics. In every major region of the country, a majority agree that the nation's values have weakened since the 1950s, the poll found. That view is particularly evident in the South and West. Among distinct groups of Americans, concerns are strongest among Republicans, whites, and people over the age of 55. Ann Echard, a second-grade teacher, and one of those surveyed, sees the impact of the country's lower standards on the children in her classroom in Bakersfield, Calif. The moral climate, she says, is clearly "getting worse," and is being affected by what people see on TV and "even the Internet." The results show up with children, who often reflect both physical and emotional neglect, she says, in part because their "parents are struggling to keep their heads above water," and in part simply because some parents are "just being selfish. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Is Morality in Decline? Most Americans See Broad Moral Decline; A Monitor Poll Shows That Most Americans Think Their Country's Moral Standards Are Falling and That Stronger Families Must Be the Solution
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.