Most Americans Believe the Nation's Moral Compass 'Is Pointed in the Wrong Direction,' Survey Finds

  • Kayla Koslosky Former Editor
  • Updated Mar 23, 2022
Most Americans Believe the Nation's Moral Compass 'Is Pointed in the Wrong Direction,' Survey Finds

A new Deseret News/Marist Poll survey found that most Americans believe "the nation's moral compass is pointed in the wrong direction."

According to the "Faith in America" survey, 72 percent of Americans believe the moral compass of the U.S. is pointed in the wrong direction. Among Christians, 74 percent agreed, and among non-religious Americans, 69 percent agreed. When broken down by political party, there was a substantial divide, with 90 percent of Republicans saying the U.S. moral compass was broken and just 51 percent of Democrats saying the same. Seventy-seven percent of Independents also agreed that the moral compass is pointed in the wrong direction.

Just 22 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. moral compass is pointed in the right direction.

According to a press release sent to Christian Headlines, the poll also found that most Americans do not believe religion is a requirement for morality.

When asked if they believe it is necessary to follow the Golden Rule, 91 percent of non-religious Americans agreed and 93 percent of those who practice a religion agreed.

When asked who respondents looked to for moral guidance, most respondents said family (79 percent), the rule of law (66 percent) and friends (65 percent).

Following closely behind friends were religious teachings (63 percent).

A slight majority of respondents (57 percent) said they look to religious leaders where they worship for moral guidance, whereas only 45 percent said they look to well-known spiritual leaders.

Some people also listed their boss or work colleagues (29 percent), political leaders (16 percent), their favorite social media influencers (12 percent), Oprah (10 percent) and their favorite athletes (10 percent).

The poll further asked respondents whether they felt one's religion should impact their politics. Once again, the results show a stark political divide, with 70 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of Independents saying they believe it should.

A similar breakdown occurred when respondents were asked if they believed God inspired the U.S. Constitution. Among Republicans, 81 percent said they believe God inspired the Constitution, whereas just 36 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Independents agreed.

When explicitly asked about the second amendment right to bear arms, only 37 percent of U.S. adults said they believe the amendment was inspired by God.

The Marist Poll, conducted on January 19, considers the responses of 1,653 U.S. adults. There is a statistical margin of error of +/-3.2 percent.


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Kayla Koslosky is the former Editor of She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has also contributed to and