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VALUES


Q U I C K  T A K E

DAN QUAYLE'S 1992 ATTACK on TV character Murphy Brown for celebrating single parenthood sparked what had been a smoldering debate over moral values and transformed it into a national firestorm. Quayle spoke for many conservatives who blame increasing rates of illegitimacy, divorce, poverty, AIDS and violence on what they perceive to be a loss of such "traditional American values" as the two-parent family, hard work, and respect for the law. Bemoaning what they see as the legacy of 1960s moral relativism, these "social conservatives," joined by some liberals, argue that today's purveyors of popular culture promote casual sex, drug abuse, and violence in movies and music. Out of this anxiety has emerged the so-called Christian Right, one of America's fastest growing and best organized political movements which seeks to reinstate prayer in public schools, enact maximal restrictions on abortion, thwart gay rights innitiatives and restrict federal funding of the arts. Most Democrats believe emphasis on social values is either misplaced or intolerant; they also charge that leaders of the Christian Right cast purely secular political issues, like taxes and defense policy, in religious terms. Moderate Republicans and libertarians are uncomfortable with the movement's intrusive anti-abortion stance and its intolerance of non-traditional lifestyles. Politically, the stakes are highest for Republicans who see the Christian Right as a constituency too powerful to alienate in the primaries but too radical to represent in the general election. Yet Democrats must beware as well. The same polls showing that most Americans either distrust the Christian agenda or don't know what it is also demonstrate that the perceived decline in moral values is a widespread concern.
P U B L I C  O P I N I O N
  • Some people think the government should do more to promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor one set of values over another. Which comes closer to your own view?
  • TOTAL % REPUBLICAN % INDEPENDENT % DEMOCRAT %
    Should do more to promote traditional values 43 51 39 39
    Should not favor one set of values 48 42 52 50
    Not sure 9 7 9 11

    TIME/CNN Poll, conducted October 31-November 6, 1995.

  • How concerned are you personally about the amount of violence depicted in movies, television shows, and popular music? Are you very concerned about this, fairly concerned, not very concerned or not concerned at all?
  • TOTAL % MEN % WOMEN %
    Very concerned 52 41 63
    Fairly concerned 25 29 20
    Not very concerned 14 17 11
    Not concerned at all 9 13 5
    Not sure * - 1

    * Less than 1%
    TIME/CNN Poll, conducted June 3, 1995.

  • How concerned are you personally about the amount of sex depicted in movies, television shows, and popular music? Are you very concerned about this, fairly concerned, not very concerned or not concerned at all?
  • TOTAL % MEN % WOMEN %
    Very concerned 44 31 56
    Fairly concerned 26 27 26
    Not very concerned 16 21 11
    Not concerned at all 13 21 6
    Not sure 1 - 1

    * Less than 1%
    TIME/CNN Poll, conducted June 3, 1995.

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