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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Disturbing Survey on Civic Duty and Civic Virtue

Connie Cass reports at AP  on civic duty and civic virtue.  An AP-GfK poll repeated questions asked in 1984 about: voting, volunteering, serving on a jury, reporting crime, knowing English and keeping informed about news and public issues.
Of the six, only voting and volunteering were embraced about as strongly as three decades ago, when NORC at the University of Chicago posed those questions to Americans on the General Social Survey, but volunteering doesn't rank very high on the list for many.
While just 28 percent say volunteering is "a very important obligation" that a citizen owes the country, three-fourths of Americans consider voting central to citizenship.
Young people are feeling less dutiful, or maybe just showing their libertarian streak.
In every category except volunteering, adults under 30 were less likely than their elders to see any obligation, and also felt less obliged than young people of the past.
In 2014 about a fourth of them said there's no duty to keep informed, volunteer or speak English.
Young adults felt the most responsibility about reporting a crime: two-thirds said that's "very important," and the rest were divided between "somewhat important" and "not an obligation."
Still, in 1984, their parents' generation was much more devoted to maintaining law and order, 86 percent of young adults then called reporting crime "very important."
Americans don't feel much pressure to keep up with news and public issues anymore.
Only 37 percent think that's very important, down from a majority (56 percent) in 1984.
In fact, a fifth say there's no obligation at all to stay fully informed.
The young are even less likely to feel citizens ought to know what's going on, despite having unprecedented amounts of information at their fingertips.