Poll: Personal freedoms trump U.S. gov't, economy as top virtue

Posted Jan 7, 2013 by Andrew Moran
A strong majority of Americans list individual freedoms, the quality of life and the opportunity to succeed as the nation’s top virtues, according to a new poll released Monday. The governmental, economic and healthcare systems were at the bottom.
Beverly & Pack
Even though there are a variety of people in the United States complaining about some of its faults, a new survey by Gallup suggests that Americans generally believe its top three qualities and virtues standout relative to other modern and industrialized nations.
The poll found that 77 percent say individuals freedoms are the nation’s top virtue, while two-thirds (65 percent) say quality of life and more than half (55 percent) believe the opportunity to get ahead in life are the best or at least above average.
In the bottom half of the list was three areas that have been in the news for a long time: the system of government (46 percent), the economic system (34 percent) and the healthcare system (29 percent).
Most Americans above 18 years of age listed government as average or above average when compared to rivals on the world stage. Younger adults (18 to 34 years old) tended to label government as average, while a little more than a quarter of those 55 and older (26 percent) gave the government an average rating.
When it comes to political affiliation, Republicans and Democrats as well as Independents generally agree with many of these premises of individual freedoms, economic system and government.
“Republicans and Democrats largely agree on these perceptions, with Republicans slightly less laudatory of the U.S. for its freedoms and economic system,” stated Gallup in its Bottom Line summary. “However, greater differences are seen generationally, with young adults significantly less likely than those aged 35 and older to consider the U.S. system of government and the healthcare and economic systems superior.”
The telephone survey was conducted with 1,025 adults between Dec. 14 and Dec. 17. It contains a margin of error of +/- four percentage points.