This month, 50 percent of Americans said, “promoting greater respect for traditional social and moral values” is more important, and 42 percent said, “encouraging greater tolerance of people with different lifestyles and backgrounds” is more important. Those numbers are barely changed from 2013, smack in the middle of the Obama years.
Wait, there’s more. When you break down the respondents by race, “traditional values” was picked by 51 percent of whites, 48 percent of blacks, and 51 percent of Hispanics. “Tolerance for different lifestyles” was selected by 40 percent of whites, 47 percent of blacks, and 44 percent of Hispanics. Whatever racial divisions America has, those three demographics see this choice roughly the same way.
You would think a poll result like this would encourage conservatives. But I suspect this poll result will be largely ignored because it doesn’t fit the narrative either for progressives who want to hear about culture-war triumphs, or folks on the right who on some level actually enjoy hearing about how decadent and depraved American society has become. Year by year, the loudest voices on the right have adopted a dystopian “this country is going to hell in a handbasket” vision; hearing that half the country wants to promote greater respect for traditional social and moral values might actually stir hope, confidence, optimism, and even unity, and lordy, we can’t have that, now can we?
As you would probably suspect, 74 percent of self-identified Republicans said “promoting greater respect for traditional social and moral values” is more important, while 67 percent of self-identified Democrats said “encouraging greater tolerance of people with different lifestyles and backgrounds” is more important. Independents split, with 49 percent picking traditional values and 41 percent siding with greater tolerance. (I wonder how many cultural traditionalists stopped defining themselves as Republicans during the Trump era.)