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Inside Sources: Do Americans still believe in American beliefs?

In this Sept. 8, 2020 photo, voting booths are kept socially distant at the Chesterfield, N.H. polling site. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — Pollster and political analyst Scott Rasmussen joined “Inside Sources” host Boyd Matheson, opinion editor at Deseret News, for a conversation on American beliefs. 

Do Americans still believe in freedom, equality and self-government? A pollster asked voters that question. This is what they said.

Beliefs worth fighting for

“Scott, welcome to the program. You found something that may be a unicorn these days. You found something that 83% of Americans agree on, which is almost impossible even on National Puppy Day. What did you find that 83% of voters actually agree on?” Boyd asked.

“Well, 83% of voters share my belief, and I think it’s your belief, too, that America’s founding ideals are worth fighting for. Just 7% disagree,” Rasmussen said. “You know when you talk about a phrase like, America’s founding ideals, that can mean different things to different people. So I followed up. I asked, ‘What is it you think is worth fighting for?”

Rasmussen stressed that when he uses the term “fighting for” he doesn’t mean it in any violent sense.

He said 85% of the people with whom he spoke agreed with the ideals of freedom, equality and self-governance.

“So it’s a good reminder that for all the differences we have in the political world, regardless of which candidate you like or what policy you like, there is some common ground to build upon I think we really have to work to do that in today’s world,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen told Boyd another number from his polling data of Americans jumped out at him.

“Among people who have neither of their parents born in the United States, eight out of 10 agree with those [founding] ideals . . . probably part of the reason they’re here,” he said.

Boyd cited another number from Rasmussen’s polling data.

“Over 70% of voters saying that we’re not doing a very good or excellent job of living up to those very founding ideals,” Boyd said.

“When we asked if we will draw closer to living out those ideals over the next generation, 33% say we will, 32% say nope and 36% aren’t sure. So there is a recognition that these ideals are important. They are part of our great heritage. There is concern about how we’re living up to them,” Rasmussen said.

Freedom — something we can all agree on

Rasmussen cited another number from his polling data on American beliefs that enjoyed high concurrence among respondents: 73% of voters believe freedom, equality and self-governance provide a good foundation for bringing people together and unifying the nation.

“Freedom means that you and I can both agree on it, even if I think you’re crazy about the way you should use it because that’s that’s part of the process,” Rasmussen said.

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson, who is also the opinion editor of the Deseret News, can be heard weekdays from 11:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.


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