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New Gallup Poll Shows Generational Differences, Similarities in Moral Attitudes
Thursday, June 6, 2013 6:25 AM

When it comes to differentiating themselves from other financial institutions, credit unions take pride in knowing their members: who they are, how they think, what they value, how they prioritize. Everyone knows that younger members have a different set of values, moral attitudes and priorities than the older generations. Right?

According to a new Gallup poll released this week, that stereotypical view that younger Americans are more accepting of issues and behaviors that were once considered taboo holds true on many moral issues.

But on others, people might be surprised to learn that older Americans are more closely aligned with the younger generation.

When it comes to the perceived morality – or lack thereof – of gambling, doctor-assisted suicide, extramarital affairs, divorce, wearing animal furs, stem cell research, and the death penalty, people over 55 are mostly in agreement with those ages 18-34.
However, older Americans continue to be relatively far apart from the younger generation on a number of moral issues. For example, 57 percent of Americans over 55 believe it is morally acceptable to have children out of wedlock, 56 percent say it is okay for unmarried men and women to have sexual relations, and 51 percent approve of gay/lesbian relationships. This compares to 71 percent of those 18-34 approving of out-of-wedlock births, 72 percent for unmarried sex and 74 for gay/lesbian relationships.
Even so, Gallup analysts note that a majority of older Americans are now accepting of those issues, even if in smaller numbers, signaling a cultural shift among Americans of all ages.

Why does this matter to credit unions?

“As you can see from this study, it’s important for marketers to know who their members are and how they think when developing a marketing campaign,” says Steve Stovall, Assistant Vice President of Marketing Resources for Credit Union Resources, Inc. “A campaign that may appeal to younger members may not capture the attention of your older members. Plus, you don’t want to offend any of your members ever, so be sensitive when working with a subject matter that could have an unintended result.”
The data are from Gallup's 2013 Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 2-7. Gallup has tracked Americans' views on the moral acceptability of 12 issues annually since 2001 and several others annually since 2002 or later.

To learn more about the poll, click here.