Long-held values like patriotism, religion and community involvement are in retreat across America, according to a stunning poll released Monday.
The Wall Street Journal/NORC survey found that just 38% of Americans say patriotism is “very important” to them, down from 70% who said the same in 1998.
Slightly more Americans (39%) placed the same importance on religion, down from 62% who said faith was “very important” to them 25 years ago.
The percentage of Americans who said raising children was “very important” fell to 30% in the new poll, down from 59% in 1998.
Meanwhile, the share of Americans who valued involvement in their community as “very important” fell to 27% — down from a high of 62% in 2019, the last time the question was polled.
One virtue long associated with liberals, a belief in tolerance for others, is now deemed very important by 58% of Americans — down from 80% four years ago.
By contrast, the only value that has grown in worth to Americans is money, with 43% calling it “very important” compared to 31% who said the same in 1998.
Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who worked on the 2019 survey for the Journal and NBC News, told the paper that Monday’s poll “paints a new and surprising portrait of a changing America.”
“Perhaps the toll of our political division, COVID and the lowest economic confidence in decades is having a startling effect on our core values,” he added.
The poll also found that only 23% of Americans under 30 said patriotism was very important, compared to 59% of seniors 65 and older.
And 31% of young respondents said religion was very important, compared to 55% of those 65 and up.
Less than a quarter (23%) of younger Americans deemed having children very important, while 32% of seniors said the same.
Kevin Williams, 33, of Bend, Ore., told the Journal he thought declines in the importance of patriotism and community involvement were a symptom of rising individualism and a growing sense of entitlement in the country.
“I think patriotism encompasses being part of your community and helping other Americans,’’ said Williams, a commercial and residential painter who voted for former President Donald Trump twice and joined the Marines after 9/11.
But for Janet Boyer, a former Pentecostal minister in Cumberland Township, Pa., patriotism has taken on a political connotation.
“For me, patriotism has turned into right-wing nationalism,’’ said Boyer, 52, who supported President Biden in 2020.
According to the survey, 59% of Republicans said patriotism was “very important” to them compared to 23% of Democrats. Similar gaps showed up on the importance of religion (53% of Republicans and 27% of Democrats saying it was “very important”) and having children (38% of Republicans and 26% of Democrats).
Interestingly, 45% of both Republicans and Democrats deemed money “very important” while just 36% of independents said the same.
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