WASHINGTON, April 27, 2023 – Americans aren’t very nice to each other anymore and they blame social media and the media generally.
That’s the consensus in a new American Bar Association survey. The 2023 ABA Survey of Civic Literacy asked who is to blame for the nation’s growing incivility, what issues they’d be willing to compromise on and how much they know about how American government works.
The results: A majority agreed that civility is worse, that political compromise is good, but many are not willing to compromise on specific issues. Also, most U.S. residents think Americans don’t know much about how government works.
The survey is released each year to mark Law Day, observed annually on May 1. The results are from a nationally representative survey of 1,000 respondents conducted in English and Spanish by telephone March 17-22 by DAPA Research on behalf of the ABA. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Here are the results of some individual questions:
- A big majority, 85%, said civility in today’s society is worse than it was 10 years ago.
- 29% said social media is primarily responsible for eroding civility. Another 24% blamed the media generally and 19% blamed public officials.
- 34% said family and friends are primarily responsible for improving civility in our society. Another 27% said it’s primarily the responsibility of public officials and 11% said community leaders. Only 7% said it’s primarily the responsibility of teachers.
- An overwhelming majority (90%) said parents and family are most responsible for instilling civility in children.