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Monday, June 13, 2011

‘Traditional values’ take a slip in the polls

Lisa Keen -
“Traditional values” didn’t do too well in the latest CNN poll of American adults. For the first time in 18 years since the question has been asked, the percentage of adults thinking that the government should “promote traditional values” dropped below 50 percent.
Of the 1,015 adults surveyed between June 3 to 7, 46 percent said the government should promote traditional values, 50 percent said government should “not favor any set of values.” Four percent had no opinion. The survey results, which were released Sunday, June 12, had a margin of error of plus or minus three points.
Just last year, 53 percent of respondents said government should promote “traditional values” and, according to CNN, past polls have shown support as high as 59 percent (in October 2001 and January 1996).
But since the question was first asked, in 1993, responses have fluctuated dramatically. In 2001, for instance, the question was asked in September and again in October. In September 2001, 53 percent said government should promote “traditional valutes;” in October, 59 percent said so.
The previous low point for traditional values came in September 2005, when only 50 percent of adults said government should promote them.
CNN did not explain what it meant by “traditional values,” but in political discourse, it emerged as code for “anti-gay.” The right-wing Traditional Values Coalition defines traditional values as including the view that homosexuality is an abomination, but also includes views that are anti-abortion, pro-death penalty, and pro-religion.
Some polls have asked questions concerning “traditional marriages,” usually seeking respondents’ views on allowing same-sex couples to marry. Two years ago, Fox News asked, “Do you think straight people in your community who have traditional religious values are tolerant of gays and lesbians and their beliefs?” Sixty-seven percent said they think straight people in their communities are “very tolerant” or “somewhat tolerant.”
CNN’s question was asked this year along with questions concerning Republican candidates for president, in preview of CNN’s debate Monday night with seven GOP contenders. CNN asked survey participants to express their opinions on 10 potential candidates. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has suggested he might run, had the highest favorability ranking. Fifty-five percent of adults surveyed said they had a favorable opinion of Giuliani. He was followed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with 39 percent and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas with 34 percent. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin earned the highest “unfavorability” rating. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of the former Alaska governor. Palin was followed by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; 44 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of him.
Interestingly, the respondents also identified Palin as the Republican who represents values of Republicans.
The Democratic Party fared better than the Republican Party in the poll. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they had a favorable view of the Democratic Party; only 49 percent had a favorable view of the GOP.

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