Sur­vey: Pes­simism grow­ing in Amer­ica

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY MEGHAN BARTLETT

Anx­i­ety about ter­ror­ism, crime and di­vi­sions over racial and po­lit­i­cal dis­crim­i­na­tion are con­tribut­ing to a grow­ing pes­simism among Amer­i­cans, ac­cord­ing to a sweep­ing new sur­vey of na­tional val­ues re­leased Tues­day.

The lat­est sam­pling of Amer­i­can val­ues on a wide range of is­sues found an 11 per­cent­age point spike in the num­ber of Amer­i­cans who be­lieve the coun­try’s “best days are be­hind us” — 49 per­cent said they thought Amer­ica’s best days were in the past com­pared with 38 per­cent just three years ago, ac­cord­ing to 2015 Amer­i­can Val­ues Sur­vey, con­ducted by the Pub­lic Re­li­gion Re­search In­sti­tute.

There was a par­ti­san el­e­ment to the pes­simism: 58 per­cent of Repub­li­cans said Amer­ica has peaked, com­pared to 30 per­cent of Democrats who agreed.

Pri­mary con­cerns con­tribut­ing to the dour mood in­clude health care woes, ter­ror­ism and the rise of mil­i­tant Is­lam. A ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans (56 per­cent) think Is­lam be­liefs are op­posed to Amer­i­can val­ues, a 9 per­cent in­crease from four years ago when Amer­i­cans were more evenly di­vided, with 47 per­cent agree­ing and 48 per­cent dis­agree­ing.

A stag­nant econ­omy has de­flated morale as the ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans (72 per­cent) still be­lieve the coun­try is in re­ces­sion — just a four-point dip from 2012 de­spite a ris­ing GDP and fall­ing nom­i­nal em­ploy­ment rates.

Only half of Amer­i­cans re­ported some or a great deal of con­fi­dence in the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. Just 42 per­cent say the gov­ern­ment looks out for them some­what or very well, with se­niors the only group where a ma­jor­ity ex­presses con­fi­dence that the gov­ern­ment takes care of them.

A ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans are also skep­ti­cal about an­other Bush or Clin­ton lead­ing the coun­try will lead to brighter days: 54 per­cent of Amer­i­cans be­lieve elect­ing ei­ther Jeb Bush or Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton next year would weaken the coun­try, in­clud­ing 61 per­cent of the Repub­li­cans polled. The sur­vey also found:

64 per­cent of black Amer­i­cans be­lieve mis­treat­ment of peo­ple by po­lice is a prob­lem in their com­mu­nity, com­pared with just 17 per­cent of whites and 47 per­cent of His­pan­ics.

60 per­cent of black Amer­i­cans be­lieve racial ten­sions are an is­sue, com­pared with 27 per­cent of whites and 49 per­cent of His­pan­ics.

Among re­li­gious groups, white evan­gel­i­cal Protes­tants and white main­stream Protes­tants re­port be­ing far more pes­simistic than other groups, with ma­jori­ties be­liev­ing that Amer­ica’s best days are be­hind us. By con­trast, ma­jori­ties of Amer­i­can Catholics, black Protes­tants and re­li­giously un­af­fil­i­ated Amer­i­cans all say the coun­try’s best days are still to come.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.