WASHINGTON, D.C.—A poll conducted over the weekend by the Pew Research Center (PRC) and the Washington Post has found that, of 1,002 adults questioned, only 19 percent believe that elected officials have lower moral standards than the average American—and a whopping 57 percent attribute the spate of recent sex scandals among politicians that have been reported in the press to the fact that they’re under greater scrutiny than most people.
“Among the 19 percent who attribute the scandals to lower moral standards among elected officials,” a PRC press release stated, “most (13 percent of the public) say that when people get into positions of power, they tend to lose their moral standards, while 4% say that politics attracts the kind of people who have lower moral standards.”
On the other hand, of the 57 percent who believe that politicians are as horny as anyone else, it’s women who, at 59 percent, credit scrutiny over moral failure, while 55 percent of men have the same belief. Just as interesting, it’s a full two-thirds of those polled in the 18-29 age range who think pols just get caught more often, while just 50 percent of the over-65s believe that. Even 54 percent of Republicans recognize that “lower moral standards” aren’t the reason, as do 51 percent of independents. As might be expected, 65 percent of Democrats come down on the scrutiny-as-the-cause side.
“There also is no difference in opinion between those following the current scandal involving Rep. Anthony Weiner very closely and those following this news less closely,” the poll found. “Overall, 12 percent reject both of the options offered, answering neither or giving other reasons. Among those who offer an explanation, the most frequently cited refer to elected officials’ ego or arrogance.”
Besides the apparent rationality of those polled, the results shoot yet another hole in the conservative/religious rhetorical canon that the average citizen believes that most if not all politicians are crooks and liars.