Americans Believe Civility Is on the Decline

A recent survey finds that 74% of Americans think manners and behavior have deteriorated in the United States over the past several decades. A large majority of Americans believe that politicians should be held to a higher standard than the general public, but few think they are living up to that expectation. The Republican campaign is viewed as rude and disrespectful by nearly twice as many Americans as those who characterize the fight for the Democratic nomination in that way (78 percent vs. 41 percent). The study finds that people are generally in agreement about what sort of behavior is unacceptable. Behavior ranging from use of cell phones in restaurants to swearing in public or online is universally considered to be ill-mannered, but differences in these opinions, and the likelihood of an individual personally engaging in such behavior, emerge based on age and gender. Remarks or jokes based on race, gender, or sexuality, however, are considered inappropriate by 8 in 10 Americans, and only a small percentage of Americans admit to doing so themselves.

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