Washington Post/Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University Value Study -- Part 2
The latest Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University study is based on random telephone interviews with 1,200 adults on August 10-August 27. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
1. Do you think things in this country are generally going in the right direction or do you feel things have gotten seriously off on the wrong track?
Right direction Wrong Track No opinion 8/27/98 41 53 62. Some people say they are worried about the state of Americans' values and morals these days. What specific problem with the country's values and morals concerns you yourself most?
Government (NET) 19
President Clinton (subNET) 14
Dishonest/lies to public 3
No moral leadership/Poor example 6
Too much thought/attention given to
President's private life 2
President (Lewinsky issue) 4
President (unspecified) 1
General government (subNET) 6
poor political leadership 3
more interest in themselves 1
Separation of church & state issues/
religious right affecting government 2
Too much government involvement 1
Family (NET) 16
Lack of parental guidance/absentee parents/
too permissive/not role models 7
Divorce/single parent households 3
No family values/morals 6
Inability to discipline children 2
Attitudes (NET) 33
Lack of respect for people/property/authority 5
Only interested in self/money 3
Lack of morals/values/honesty in general/
right and wrong 10
Sexual promescuity/attitudes/teen pregnancy/adultery 8
Lack of religious commitment 5
General dishonesty 1
Poor attitudes/morals of young people/kids 3
People not taking responsibility 2
Media (NET) 6
Violence/sex in media/music 5
Dishonesty/unethical media/press issues 1
Crime/Violence (NET) 12
Violence (other than juvenile) 7
Juvenile (NET) 8
Kids using/selling drugs 1
Juvenile violence/crimes/guns 6
Misc. (NET) 20
The economy/inflation 1
Welfare issues 1
Income/Money issues 1
Education Issues 3
Racism Issues 2
Healthcare Issues 1
Social Security Issues 1
Criminal justice system 1
Job security/employment 1
Don't Know/No opinion 10
3. On the whole, would you say that you are satisfied or dissatisfied with the honesty and standards of behavior of people in this country today?
Satisfied Dissatisfied No opinion 8/27/98 32 63 54. Thinking of the time from the 1920s to the 1990s-is there a decade in which you think American values and morals were particularly good? (IF YES:) Which decade?
------------------------Yes--------------------------- No 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s No opin. 4 5 13 28 9 7 6 3 18 65. Do you think that young people today have as strong a sense of right and wrong as they did, say, fifty years ago?
Yes No No opinion 8/27/98 20 78 26. Which statement comes closer to your own views: Americans are united and in agreement about the most important values, or Americans are greatly divided when it comes to the most important values?
United/in agreement Greatly divided No opinion 8/27/98 31 66 37. Which of the following worries you more about the future:? That the country will become too tolerant of behaviors that are bad for society, OR That the country will become too intolerant of behaviors that don't do any real harm to society.
Tolerant Intolerant No opinion 8/27/98 66 28 69. Would you say that (VALUE CHOSEN) is much more important, somewhat more important, or only a little more important than (VALUE NOT CHOSEN)?
a. (One) Being tough on criminals or (two) protecting the rights of those accused of crime?
Being tough Protecting rights Both equally No on criminals of accused important(vol.) opinion 76 17 5 2 Much Somewhat Only a No more more little more opinion 8/27/98 Being tough 66 25 9 1 8/27/98 Protect rights 40 37 22 1b. Guaranteeing law and order in society or guaranteeing individual freedom?
Guaranteeing Guaranteeing Both equally No Law and order individual freedom important (vol.) opinion 56 34 8 2 Much Somewhat Only a No more more little more opinion 8/27/98 Law and order 50 34 14 1 8/27/98 Individual freedom 42 31 26 2c. Working for the rights of women or preserving traditional family values?
Protecting Rights Preserving Both equally No of women family values important(vol.) opinion 31 60 7 2 Much Somewhat Only a No more more little more opinion 8/27/98 Rights of women 37 46 17 1 8/27/98 Family values 55 29 15 1d. Defending the community's standards of right and wrong or protecting the rights of individuals to live by their own moral standards?
Defending standards Protecting rights Both equally No of right and wrong of individuals important(vol.) opin. 55 39 3 3 Much Somewhat Only a No more more little more opinion 8/27/98 Defending standards 50 37 12 1 8/27/98 Protect rights 38 38 22 2e. Protecting the environment or increasing jobs and economic growth?
Protecting Increasing jobs Both equally No environment and economic growth important(vol.) opinion 52 37 10 2 Much Somewhat Only a No more more little more opinion Protect environment 55 33 11 * Inc. Jobs/econ grwth 37 38 23 2f. Encouraging a belief in God or encouraging a modern scientific outlook?
Belief in Encouraging a Both equally No God modern outlook important(vol.) opinion 78 15 5 3 Much Somewhat Only a No more more little more opinion 8/27/98 Belief in God 82 13 5 1 8/27/98 Modern outlook 25 33 40 2g. Narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor or increasing economic growth?
Narrowing gap Increasing Both equally No between rich/poor econ. growth important(vol.) opin. 37 56 4 3 Much Somewhat Only a No more more little more opinion 8/27/98 Narrowing gap 47 41 11 1 8/27/98 Inc. econ. growth 40 45 15 110. (Each item asked of half sample) Which political party, the Democrats or the Republicans, do you trust to do a better job on (READ EACH ITEM)?
a. Making sure that individual rights are protected
Democrats Republicans Both(vol.) Neither(vol.) No opin. 42 31 4 15 8b. Making sure that all people receive equal treatment under the law
Democrats Republicans Both(vol.) Neither(vol.) No opin. 47 25 6 14 8c. Showing compassion toward the disadvantaged
Democrats Republicans Both(vol.) Neither(vol.) No opin. 52 21 3 15 9d. Protecting freedom of speech
Democrats Republicans Both(vol.) Neither(vol.) No opin. 41 31 6 15 8e. Reflecting your religious beliefs
Democrats Republicans Both(vol.) Neither(vol.) No opin. 32 35 4 17 10f. Encouraging high moral standards and values
Democrats Republicans Both(vol.) Neither(vol.) No opin. 26 41 4 20 8g. Promoting self-reliance
Democrats Republicans Both(vol.) Neither(vol.) No opin. 33 40 2 14 11h. Making sure government is not too large or too small
Democrats Republicans Both(vol.) Neither(vol.) No opin. 33 36 4 17 10i. Reducing poverty in this country
Democrats Republicans Both(vol.) Neither(vol.) No opin. 48 25 2 15 911. Would you say you favor a smaller government with fewer services, or larger government with many services? (GET ANSWER THEN ASK: Do you strongly or somewhat favor a larger/smaller government?)
----Smaller government---- ---- Larger government--- No NET Strongly Somewhat NET Somewhat Strongly opin. 59 33 26 33 20 13 812. How much of the time do you trust the government in Washington to do the right thing? Just about always, most of the time, or only some of the time?
Just about always Most Only some None(vol.) No opin. 6 28 59 7 113. I'm going to read a couple of statements, and ask whether, in general, you agree or disagree. How about (READ ITEM)
a. The government has gone too far in regulating business and interfering with the free enterprise system.
Agree Disagree No opinion 8/27/98 59 35 6b. The federal government has a responsibility to try to do away with poverty in this country.
Agree Disagree No opinion 8/27/98 70 28 214. Would you like the government to do more, do less, or do about the same as they have been on helping minority groups?
More Less About the same No opinion 8/27/98 37 22 37 315. In your opinion, which of the following do you think will be the biggest threat to the country in the future--big business, big labor, or big government?
Big business Big labor Big government No opinion 8/27/98 25 11 59 616. On another subject, please tell me whether you definitely agree, probably agree, probably disagree, or definitely disagree with the following statement. The best mark of a person's religiousness is the degree of his or her concern for others.
----------Agree------------ ----------Disagree--------- No NET Definitely Probably NET Probably Definitely opin. 81 49 32 17 8 9 217. Some people think it is all right for the public schools to start each day with a prayer. Others feel that religion does not belong in the public schools but should be taken care of by the family and the church. Have you been interested enough in this to favor one side or the other? (IF INTERESTED: ) Which do you think: Should schools be allowed to start each day with a prayer, or religon does not belong in the schools?
-------------------Yes---------------------- Not No NET Allow Doesn't belong Depends(vol.) interested opin. 81 56 20 4 18 118. As you may know, some states are offering people a new kind of marriage contract called a covenant marriage. This requires that people getting married go through premarital counseling, and also makes it more difficult for them to get divorced even if they later decide they want to. Would you favor or oppose having covenant marriages in your state?
Favor Oppose No opinion 8/27/98 50 45 519. Would you yourself ever consider or ever have considered a covenant marriage if it was available?
Yes No No opinion 8/27/98 42 54 520. Do you approve or disapprove of medical techniques which allow women to have children beyond their normal childbearing age?
Approve Disapprove No opinion 8/27/98 40 51 921. Thinking about your own values and morals, would you say that homosexuality is: always acceptable, acceptable for some people but not for others, unacceptable but should be tolerated by society, or unacceptable and should not be tolerated?
------Acceptable------ ---------Unacceptable------ No NET Always For some NET Tolerated Not tol. opin. 39 15 24 57 29 28 422. (Of those who said unacceptable) What is the main reason you personally think homosexuality is unacceptable?
Bible forbids it/homosexuality is a sin/ Church condemns it/all other religious objections 52
Not natural/Against laws of nature
(without mentioning Bible/God/religion) 22
Can not reproduce 1
Find homosexuality disgusting/obscene 5
Object to lifestyle 9
AIDS, any mentions 1
Homosexuals mentally unstable/homosexuality an illness 1
Just not right/my opinion/don't understand it 2
Public display/media exposure/not private *
Goes against family/values 1
Exposing youth *
No opinion 4
23. In your opinion, what is the main cause of homosexuality? Are people born homosexual, do people become homosexual because of their experiences while growing up, or do people choose to be homosexual on their own? Born Experiences Choose on their own No opin. 8/27/98 32 20 33 16 24. Do you think homosexuality is a physical or mental illness, or not? Yes No No opinion 8/27/98 32 59 9 25. Do you think a person's homosexual orientation can be changed in most cases, in some cases, in just a few cases, or never? Most Some In just a few Never No opinion 8/27/98 18 27 24 22 9 26. Do you think gays and lesbians should or should not attend programs to try to change their sexuality? Should Should not No opinion 8/27/98 43 39 18 27. Which view comes closer to your own (READ LIST):
Government should promote policies and programs discouraging homosexuality, Government should promote policies and programs that treat homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle,OR Government should not get involved in this issue Discourage Acceptable Not get No homosexuality homosexuality involved opinion 8/27/98 14 11 74 2 28. Does it bother you to be around people who are gay or lesbian? [IF YES] Is that a lot or a little? ----------Yes----------- NET A lot A little No No opinion 8/27/98 22 10 12 74 4 29. Do you think homosexual relations between consenting adults should be legal or illegal? Legal Illegal No opinion 8/27/98 55 34 11 30. (Of those who think relations should be legal) Should homosexual relations be legal even though they go against the teachings of many major religions and may weaken traditional family values? Should Should not No opinion 8/27/98 82 18 0 31. (Of those who think relations should be illegal)Should homosexual relations be illegal even if this means that consenting adults who engage in these activities in their own homes could be prosecuted for a crime? Should Should not No opinion 8/27/98 33 56 10 32. In general, do you think homosexuals should or should not have equal rights in terms of job opportunities? Should Should not No opinion 8/27/98 87 9 3 33. Do you yourself have a friend, family member, or acquaintance who is gay or lesbian, or not? Yes No No opinion 8/27/98 59 40 1 34. On another subject, which of these federal tax systems do you prefer: (READ ITEMS)
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