CNN Poll: Promotion of family values being trumped by economy?
June 12th, 2011
09:00 AM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Promotion of family values being trumped by economy?

Washington (CNN) - The number of Americans who say that government should promote traditional values in society has fallen below 50 percent for the first time since CNN began asking this poll question in 1993.

And according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Sunday morning, the number who say that the government should not favor any set of values is now at 50 percent, the highest it has ever been in CNN polling.

Read full results (pdf).

"Throughout the 1990s and the first decade of this century, the number of Americans who wanted government to promote traditional values usually hovered in the mid-50's, occasionally going as high as 59 percent and never dipping below 50 percent," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Last summer's numbers are typical - 53 percent wanted the government to promote traditional values; 44 percent said the government should not push one set of values over another."

Does this spell the end of the search for "values voters?"

Probably not, at least in the GOP primaries and caucuses. More than six in 10 Republicans questioned in the poll say the government should promote traditional values - although even among Republicans, that number is down seven points since last summer.

"The general election, however, may be another story. Rural voters and blue-collar Americans, typically defined as those who never went to college, may not be as motivated by appeals to traditional values as they once were, and the change among those particular groups suggests that economic worries are crowding out social issues," adds Holland.

The number of independent voters who say the government should promote traditional values is also down 12 points since last year.

The survey also indicates there is little change in the number of people who say that government is doing too much that should be left to businesses and individuals - a number that jumped to more than six in ten in the wake of President Barack Obama's victory in 2008.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted June 3-7, with 1,015 adult Americans, including 433 Republicans and independent voters who lean towards the GOP, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • CNN poll • Economy • Polls
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. GonzoinHouston

    When the economy is bad, "It's the economy, stupid" applies, and brother does it apply now. The only questions left for 2012 are which party will prevail at blaming the other for the mess and which party is perceived as having the best solution.

    Funny thing is, whether you are a democrat or republican, you think the facts are obviously with you. Alternate realities indeed.

    June 12, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. chef dugan

    :Family Values" is just another Right-Wing catch phrase for let's shove our beliefs down everyone else's throat. Who family are they talking about, Charles Manson's or Mother Teresa's? I would like to see Obama defeated in 2012 but running any one of the fruitcakes that proclaim family values isn't going to get the job done. June Cleaver was sickening in the 50's and still is but now is also irrelevant. Forget junk topics like abortion and stick to getting people back to work or just go away please.

    June 12, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  3. Back to reality

    "Family Values" a catch phrase? Why do you feel the need to ask the extreme on this? Don't make more of this than it needs to be. The day when you stop promoting family values in the country is the day that humanity has lost.

    June 12, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. DJ

    I still find it arrogant and insulting that "family values" have been defined in our nation by one group of people, and that the media uses the definition as if it's true. It's tradition more than values. Tradition says things have to stay the way they've been in the past. Values are reflected in character and can be lived out in any situation, including non-traditional families that fall outside of tradition acceptable to the "family values" proponents.

    June 12, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |