11 Things Most of Us Believe In | Reader's Digest

11 Things Most of Us Believe In

A new study from the Associated Press reveals surprising information about American values.


Also published in Reader's Digest Magazine November 2013

Agreeable AmericaFernando Alonso Herrero/Getty Images

What can nine out of ten Americans agree on? Survey says: a lot, actually. While big polls such as Pew, Gallup, and the General Social Survey are designed to explore our differences, the Associated Press curated study results to discover what united the United States. About 90 percent of Americans:

• believe in God.

• are very patriotic.

• consider preventing terrorism a very important foreign policy goal.

• believe cloning humans would be morally wrong.

• think society should ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.

• think it’s important to get more than a high school education.

• believe it’s their duty to always vote.

• find birth control morally acceptable.

• admire those who get rich by working hard.

• believe it’s wrong for married people to have affairs.

• favor teaching sex education in public schools.

What do you think? Do these results surprise you, or do you agree with them? Sound off in the comments below.

  • Your Comments

    • Overburdened_Planet

      90% of Americans agree?

      Then some questions are in order.

      Believe in God.

      Which God?

      Are very patriotic.

      Define “patriotic” or “very”. Is Bush’s patriotism the same as Obama’s?

      Consider preventing terrorism a very important foreign policy goal.

      Depends on how the question was worded.

      Focusing on defense spending, one survey said 36% say we spend the right amount on defense, but another survey said 75% wanted cuts to defense spending.

      Believe cloning humans would be morally wrong.

      How about cloning organs cloned from your own stem cells?

      Think society should ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.

      Nice idea in theory, but it has never been a reality.

      If everyone had equal opportunity, then try getting into Harvard, or becoming a CEO.

      Point is, not everyone will succeed, regardless of opportunity.

      Think it’s important to get more than a high school education.

      Higher education is expensive, and there aren’t enough jobs for everyone.

      Believe it’s their duty to always vote.

      Only 57.48% of eligible voters in the ’08 presidential election voted.

      (Roughly 49% to 63% in the last 50 years)

      Find birth control morally acceptable.

      Good. Finally something most of us can agree on.

      Someone tell the Pope.

      Admire those who get rich by working hard.

      Vs. what? Getting rich without working hard?

      Very few rich people got there through hard work alone.

      Don’t forget everyone else that made getting rich possible.

      Namely, workers and wives.

      Believe it’s wrong for married people to have affairs.

      Did these surveys take into account who is being asked, married men, or married women?

      Men are more likely to cheat.

      And depending on which survey is chosen, cheating occurs between 25% and 75%, or an average of 50%.

      Favor teaching sex education in public schools.

      Good. Unless it abstinence-only ‘education’.

      • johny

        u’ve got a point here ! i totally agree with u!

      • Melrmc13

        Men are more like to cheat…with whom or with what?

        You’re right, though, that “statistics” hardly ever tell the whole story. (By the way, though it’s largely maligned, abstinence really is the only 100% effective form of birth control. It works every time it’s tried.)

        • Overburdened_Planet

          “Men are more like to cheat…with whom or with what?”

          Funny question.

          Even funnier possible answers, but I don’t think RD would allow me to provide examples.

          “You’re right, though, that “statistics” hardly ever tell the whole story. (By the way, though it’s largely maligned, abstinence really is the only 100% effective form of birth control. It works every time it’s tried.)”

          The emphasis is on “every time it’s tried”.

          Unless you were again focusing on humor.

          Purity rings, celibacy pledges, none of these symbols or ideas will stop (some) teens from getting what they want.

          Which isn’t unwanted pregnancies, or sexually-transmitted diseases.

          Comprehensive sex education results in fewer pregnancies and STIs than abstinence-only education alone.

          Abstinence-only education fails because of its narrow focus on morality, and absolute failure to address the dangers of ignorance.

          The emphasis of ignorance is on abstinence-only supporters who ignore reality.