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  Washington Post/Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University Value Study

Sunday, October 4, 1998

The latest Washington Post/Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University study is based on random telephone interviews with 2,025 adults on July 29-August 18. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.18 percentage points.

1. Do you think things in this country are generally going in the right direction or do you feel things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track?

           Right direction    Wrong track    No opinion
8/16/98         38                 57            6
2. Now thinking just about values and moral beliefs, do you think things in this country are generally going in the right direction or do you feel things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track?
            Right direction    Wrong track    No opinion
8/16/98         21                76            3 
3. Do you think that people and groups that hold values similar to yours are gaining influence in American life in general these days, or do you think that they are losing influence?
            Gaining       Losing
           influence    influence     Neither (vol.)    No opinion
8/16/98       35           55               6               4
4. Now I'm going to mention some individuals and groups in society. For each, I want you to tell me whether you think this individual or group generally shares most of your moral and ethical values, some of your moral and ethical values, or hardly any. How about (read items)?
                            Most of   Some of   Hardly   Shares
                              your      your       any     none   No
                             values    values    values   (vol.)  opin.
a. Bill Clinton                19         40       24       13      3
b. Al Gore                     21         44       17        8     10
c. Newt Gingrich               12         38       26       12     12
d. Hillary Clinton             26         39       20        9      6
e. The Democratic Party        21         47       18        8      6
f. The Republican Party        20         47       17       11      6
g. Homosexuals                  6         29       33       24      7
h. Blacks or African-Americans 21         62        9        2      6
i. Whites                      27         61        5        1      5
j. Immigrants                  17         49       19        4     10
k. Members of politically
conservative religious groups 
like the Christian Coalition   25         35       21       12      7
l. People on welfare            7         49       31        8      5
m. Rich people                 11         50       25       10      4
n. Poor people                 27         55       10        3      5
o. Older Americans             55         37        5        1      1
p. Baby Boomers                25         49       16        6      5
q. Young people under the age 
   of 30                       16         52       24        6      2
5. Which of the following do you think will be most important to you in choosing the next president. (Read items)
The candidate's stands on the issues                           38
The candidate's political party                                 4
The candidate's personal morals and ethics,                    24
The broad principles and values the candidate campaigns on, OR 15
The candidate's experience                                     13
All (vol.)                                                      3
None (vol.)                                                     1
No opinion                                                      2
6. Which of these comes closer to your opinion? (Read items)
The president is like the head of any organization:  
As long as he does a good job running the country, 
whatever he does in his personal life is not important.        49
The president has a greater responsibility than leaders of 
other organizations to set an example with his personal life.  48
Neither (vol.)                                                  2
No opinion                                                      1
7. Now I am going to read a list of things that some people do. For each, thinking about your own values and morals, I'd like you to tell me whether you think it is: always acceptable; Acceptable in some situations but not in others; unacceptable, but should be tolerated by society; or unacceptable and should not be tolerated.

                     ------Acceptable------ ----Unacceptable-----  No
                     NET  Always  Some sit. NET   Tolerated   Not opin.
A. Divorce           76     19       57     23      14         9   1
B. Sex before
marriage             55     21       34     43      19        24   2
C. Sex between
two adults of
the same sex         27     13       14     72      18        53   1
D. Marriages
between two
persons of
the same sex         23     13       10     76      15        61   1
E. Marriages
between 
blacks and whites    76     52       23     23      11        12   1
F. Drinking alcohol  74     16       57     26       9        17   1
G. Smoking marijuana 32      5       26     67      12        55   1
H. Abortion          51      9       42     48      10        38   1
I. A married
person having
an affair            11      1       10     88      17        72   1
J. Making a racist
remark in a
private
conversation         17      4       13     82      14        68   1
K. Making a sexist
remark in a
private conversation 32      6       26     67      15        52   2
L. Having a child
without 
being married        57     16       41     41      23        18   1
8. Now I will read you some statements. Will you tell me for each one whether it is something you personally agree with or disagree with? (Read items) (Get answer, then ask:)Do you agree/disagree strongly or somewhat?

A. The world is always changing and we should adjust our morals and values to those changes.

   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    42      18       25      *       57    18       39       *
B. This country would have many fewer problems if there were more emphasis on traditional family values.
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    88      70       18       1      10      6        4      *
C. We should be more tolerant of people who choose to live according to their own moral standards even if we think they are wrong.
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    70      30       40       1      27     15       12      1
D. One of the big problems in this country is that we don't give everyone an equal chance.
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    65      40       25      1      33     17       16      1
E. If people were treated more equally in this country we would have many fewer problems.
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
   79      55       24       1      19     11        7      1
F. We have gone too far in pushing equal rights in this country
  --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
  NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
   43      21       23       1      54     25       29      1
G. Americans are too tolerant and accepting of behaviors that in the past were considered immoral or wrong
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    69      42       27      1      29     18       11      1
9. There are always some people whose ideas are considered bad or dangerous by other people. For instance, consider a person who believes that blacks are genetically inferior to whites. If such a person wanted to make a speech in your community claiming that blacks are inferior, should he or she be allowed to speak, or not?
    Should    Should not    No opinion
      63         36               1
10. And what about a person who wanted to make a speech in your community in favor of gay and lesbian marriages. Should he or she be allowed to speak, or not?
           Should    Should not    No opinion
8/16/98      68         31               1
11. I'm going to read you a list of statements. Will you tell me for each one whether it is something you personally agree with or disagree with? (Read items) (Get answer, then ask:)Do you agree/disagree strongly or somewhat? A. The husband should have the final say in all important financial and family decisions.
--------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
18       8       10       1      80    20       61      *
B. A couple that is unhappy should get divorced even if they have young children.
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    46      20       25      3      50     25       25      1
C. It may be necessary for mothers to be working because the family needs money, but it would be better if she could stay home and just take care of the house and children.
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    79      49       29       2      20     12        7     * 
12. Should divorce in this country be easier or harder to obtain than it is now?
           Easier    Harder    Stay as is (vol.)    No opinion
8/16/98*     22        62             11                  5
13. Which comes closer to the way you feel (Read items)?
Government regulation of big businesses and corporations 
is necessary to protect the public, OR                     53
Government regulation of big businesses and corporations 
does more harm than good?                                  40
Neither (vol.)                                              3
No opinion                                                  4
14. Which of these views comes closer to your own?
The government in Washington should do everything possible 
to improve the standard of living of all Americans         51
This is not the government's responsibility, each person 
should take care of themselves.                            46
No opinion                                                  3
15. I am going to mention four phrases and ask you which one best describes how you feel about the way the federal government works. Do you feel enthusiastic, satisfied but not enthusiastic, dissatisfied but not angry, or angry?
-----------Enth/Satis-----------    -----Dissatis./Angry-----      No
NET    Enthusiastic    Satisfied    NET    Not angry    Angry    opinion
 41          2             39        57       46         11        1
16. Would you say you favor a smaller federal government with fewer services, or larger government with many services?
    Smaller government     Larger government       No
    with fewer services    with many services    opinion
            59                     35               6
17. Do you personally agree or disagree with the following statement? (Read items) (Get answer, then ask:)Do you agree/disagree strongly or somewhat? A. When something is run by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful.
          --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
          NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
           64      36       28       1      34     25        9      1
B. Government controls too much of our daily lives
          --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
          NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
          60      35       26      1      39     28       10       *
C. There are many goods and services which would not be available to ordinary people without government intervention
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    77      34       43       1      20     13       7      2
18.
A. People should take responsibility for their own lives and economic well-being and not expect other people to help.
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    78      47       31      1       21     14        7      *
B. Most people who don't get ahead should not blame the system, they have only themselves to blame.
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    71      36       36       1      27     19        8      *
C. Hard work offers little guarantee of success
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    40      20       20      *       60     21       38     *
D. It is the responsibility of government to reduce the differences in income between people with high incomes and people with low incomes
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    30      13       16       1      67     27       40      2
19. I am going to read two statements. Please tell me which one is closer to your own view. Most poor people are poor because they don't work hard enough or They are poor because of circumstances beyond their control?
         Lack of                        Both/            No
          effort    Circumstances    Depends (vol.)    opinion
            21            66              10             2
20. Do you personally agree or disagree with the following statement? (Read items) (Get answer, then ask:)Do you agree/disagree strongly or somewhat? A. A person should always be concerned about the well-being of others.
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    93      67       26       *       6      4        2     *
B. It is best not to get too involved in taking care of other people's needs
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    43      12       31       2      55     30       25      1
C. It is important to me personally to help others who are less fortunate.
   --------Agree--------   Neith.   ------Disagree-------   No
   NET   Strngly   Smwht   (vol.)   NET   Smwht   Strngly  opin.
    92      60       32       1       6      5        2      1
21. Religion has had an increasing impact on the political views of many Americans. Which of the following two statements comes closer to your view: [PROBE ONCE: "If you had to choose..."]
"Organized religious groups of all kinds 
should stay out of politics"                     45
"It is important for organized religious groups  
to stand up for their beliefs in politics."      52
Neither (vol.)                                    1
No opinion                                        1
22. Which comes closer to your view: [PROBE ONCE: "If you had to choose..." ]
"The government should take special steps to 
protect America's religious heritage"            48
"There should be a high degree of separation 
between church and state."                       47
Neither (vol.)                                    3
No opinion                                        2
23. Which comes closer to your view: [PROBE ONCE: "If you had to choose..."]
"The influence of religion on American politics
threatens to divide us as a country"             35
"Religious people must take political action in 
order to protect their rights."                  56
Neither (vol.)                                    6
No opinion                                        4
24. Would you rather see religious and spiritual values have greater influence in politics and public life than they do now, less influence, or about the same influence as they do now?
           Greater    Less    Same    No opinion
8/16/98       38       22      38           2
25. How important is religion in your everyday life: The most important thing in your life; extremely important, but not the most important thing, very important, somewhat important, or not important at all?
The most important thing in your life                   19
Extremely important, but not the most important thing   20
Very important                                          29
Somewhat important                                      23
Not important at all                                     8
No opinion                                               *
26. Which of these statements comes closest to describing your feelings about the Bible (Read items):
  • The Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word.
  • The Bible is the inspired word of God, but not everything in it should be taken literally, word for word.
  • The Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.
               Actual    Inspired    Fables    No opinion        
    8/16/98      36         48         14           1
    
    27. Aside from weddings and funerals how often do you attend religious services... more than once a week, once a week, once or twice a month, a few times a year, seldom, or never?
    less than                   few times
    1/week  1/week  1-2/month    a year  Seldom  Never  No opin.
    17        25        17        19      15        6       *
    28. About how often do you pray? Would you say several times a day, once a day, several times a week, once a week, less than once a week, or never.
    Several times a day   36
    Once a day            22
    Several times a week  16
    Once a week            8
    Less than             11
    Never                  7
    No Opinion             0
    
    29. On another subject, do you think people on welfare who are willing to work but can't find a job should be cut off welfare after 5 years or do you think they should continue to receive benefits?
               Should be     Should continue        No
                cut off     receiving benefits    opinion
    8/16/98        55               41               4
    
    30. Do you support or oppose: Affirmative action programs that give preference to blacks and other minorities?
               Support    Oppose    No opinion
    8/16/98      31         65            4
    31. Do you favor or oppose legalized casino gambling in your state?
               Favor    Oppose    No opinion
    8/16/98      47       48           5
    32. Should sexually explicit material on the Internet be regulated or not?
               Yes    No    No opinion
    8/16/98     78    20         2
    
    33. If someone is terminally ill, is in great pain and wants to kill themselves, should it be legal for a doctor to help them commit suicide, or not?
               Should    Should not    No opinion
    8/16/98      52         44               4
    
    34. Do you feel that illegal or undocumented immigrants should or should not be eligible to (Read each item)?
                          Should    Should not    No opinion
    Receive emergency
    health care services    73         26               1
    Send their children
    to public schools       50         48               2
    
    35. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?
               Favor    Oppose    No opinion
    8/16/98      69       27             4
    
    36. Do you favor or oppose providing parents with tax money in the form of school vouchers to help pay for their children to attend private or religious schools?
               Favor    Oppose    No opinion
    8/16/98      49       49             3
    
    37. (Of those who favor school vouchers) Would you still favor school vouchers if it meant there would be less money for public schools in your area?
               Yes, still favor    No    No opinion
    8/16/98             55         43         2
    
    38. (Of those who oppose school vouchers) Would you still oppose school vouchers if you were told that without vouchers low-income children would have less chance to attend better schools?
               Yes, still oppose    No    No opinion
    8/16/98             52          45         4
    
    39. Considering everything, would you or your family be better off or worse off if parents could get tax-funded vouchers, or wouldn't it make a difference.
               Better    Worse    Wouldn't make      No
                off       off     a difference     opinion
    8/16/98      20         4           71            5
    40. Do you favor or oppose allowing public schools to start each day with a prayer?
                Favor    Oppose    No opinion
    8/16/98      71       27             2
    
    41. Do you think government should play a role in stopping teenagers from smoking, or do you think this is not an appropriate role for government?
                 Should           Not an            No
               play a role    appropriate role    opinion
    8/16/98         51              48               1
    
    42. Which position comes closer to your own view about government regulation of HMOs and managed-care health plans? (Read items)

    The government needs to protect consumers from being treated unfairly and not getting the care they should from HMOs and managed-care plans. 65
    Additional government regulation is a bad idea and would raise the cost of health insurance too much for everyone. 28
    Neither (volunteered) 3
    No opinion 4

    43. There is a proposal that would allow people to invest some of their Social Security payroll contributions in the stock market. This change means that when people retire, their benefits could either be higher or lower than expected, depending on the stock market's performance. Would you favor or oppose this proposal to allow people to invest some of their Social Security payroll contributions in the stock market?

               Favor    Oppose    No opinion
    8/16/98      58       38             3
    44. On another subject, as you may know, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr has been investigating charges that President Clinton had an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, lied about it under oath and encouraged her to lie about it under oath. Clinton has denied these charges. Just your best guess, do you think Clinton did or did not have an affair with Lewinsky?
               Did have affair    Did not have affair    No opinion
    8/16/98           70                 17                  13
    45. Do you think the question of whether or not Clinton had an affair is a very important issue, a fairly important issue, not too important, or not an important issue at all?
        ------Important------    -------Not important--------      No
        NET    Very    Fairly    NET    Not too    Not at all    opinion
         37     20       17       62       18          44           1
    
    46. Do you think the question of whether or not Clinton lied under oath or encouraged Lewinsky to lie under oath is a very important issue, a fairly important issue, not too important, or not an important issue at all?
        ------Important------    -------Not important--------      No
        NET    Very    Fairly    NET    Not too    Not at all    opinion
         74     56       18       24       10        15             1

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