President Bush and congressional conservatives “are aiming the political spotlight this week on efforts to ban gay marriage,” a move that’s sure to renew debate over so-called “values voters.” But as a poll released today by the Center for American Progress shows, the moral concerns of the American people are nothing like what the right wing claims.
Below, some highlights:
— Asked to name the most serious moral crisis in America today, 28% of Americans cite “kids not raised with the right values”; followed by 22% saying “corruption in government/business”; 17% saying “greed and materialism” or “people too focused on themselves”; and only 3% citing “abortion and homosexuality.”
— On addressing poverty: 68% of voters strongly agree that “government should uphold the basic decency and dignity of all and take greater steps to help the poor and disadvantaged in America” (89% total agree).
— On religious freedom: 67% of voters believe that religious freedom is a “critical” part of their image of America compared to less than three in 10 who believe Judeo-Christian faith specifically is critical to this image.
(Click HERE for more details on the poll, and HERE for a slideshow presentation on the findings. For what it’s worth, among voters who participated in the survey, 46% voted in 2004 for President Bush, while 36% voted for John Kerry.)
As Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times wrote this weekend, “the survey demonstrated again that the moral issues people worried about most in their daily lives were very different from the ones dominating political debate.”
UPDATE: Via First Draft, Gallup has released a similar poll:
What issue do you think should be the top priority for the president and Congress to deal with?
The top five responses were:
Situation in Iraq/war: 42%
Fuel/oil prices/lack of energy sources/the energy crisis: 29%
Immigration/illegal aliens: 23%
Economy in general: 14%
Poor healthcare/ hospitals; high cost of healthcare: 12%
I suppose gay marriage could be classed with “Ethics/moral/religious/family decline”, which was the 20th of the 28 issues listed by respondents, important to only 1% of those polled.