Poll: Americans don't favor government promoting traditional values

J Pat Carter/AP

For the first time, a majority of Americans do not think the government should promote or favor a certain set of values, a new Gallup poll found.

Of those surveyed, 52 percent thought the government should stay clear of that role, while 44 percent think the government should promote traditional values.

Since Gallup started asking voters this question in 1993, Americans have consistently backed the government’s role in promoting traditional values. The sentiment hit an all-time high at 59 percent in early 1996 and after the terrorist attacks in 2001. But after 2004, the numbers started to change.

This shift in opinion is most striking when looking at how Republicans have shifted their views. The poll shows that 65 percent say government should promote certain values, a 14-point drop since 2004. In a similar trend, 54 percent of independents and 67 percent of Democrats are now against that role, respectively.

In recent years, attitudes toward same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization have moderated across the country, Gallup explains, while the number of Americans favoring a limited role of the federal government has also increased.

The poll was conducted between Sept. 6 and Sept. 9, as the Democratic National Convention was coming to a close, which Gallup says could explain some of the changes.

The poll was conducted among 1,017 adults and has a margin of error of four percentage points.

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