A new "Faith in America" survey conducted by the Marist College Poll and released by Deseret News on Tuesday, March 22, finds that Americans maintain a stronger sense of religiosity and spirituality than much of the mainstream media would lead people to believe.
The survey also found that Americans retain core religious beliefs "even as they are less attached to religious practices and institutions, such as daily prayer and attending services."
In addition, the survey found that a "substantial majority of Americans are deeply concerned over the country's moral direction."
Specifically, 72% of Americans think the nation’s moral compass is pointed in the wrong direction — while 22% believe it is pointed in the right one, the survey indicated.
Hal Boyd, executive editor of Deseret National, told Fox News Digital ahead of the survey's release, "What really stands out for me is that America continues to be a religious country, despite headlines and trend lines [to the contrary]. There's a strong thread of religiosity and spirituality in America — and it continues to inform and undergird the moral character of our nation."
Boyd pointed to a few compelling examples. "Looking at the numbers here, 86% of Americans still pray for a family member," he told Fox News Digital.
The survey results also showed that about 40% of Americans attend church once or twice a month, while 30% are attending weekly. Plus, he said, 60% percent of Americans are attending church at least a few times a year.
So, "only 22% say they never attend" religious services, Boyd noted.
"When you look at that, and you compare that with other nations in terms of religious practices, the United States of America, unlike many other Western nations, has a very core contingency of the population that's religious — and a solid third that's highly religious," he added. "That really makes America unique."
Other things that stood out for him: the connection to the Golden Rule among Americans.
He noted that "92% of people believe that the Golden Rule is necessary in their personal lives … It's hard to find out anything that 92% of Americans agree on."
The Faith in America survey, as shared with Fox News Digital, points out that "with the demographic characteristics of the American population shifting as baby boomers enter retirement, the state of religion is reaching a tipping point … As the demographic face of religion within America changes, so does the role religion plays in society."
"Republicans are more likely than Democrats to believe the future of the nation lies in God’s hands rather than in the American people’s control."
The survey notes that "all generations of Americans believe it is necessary to follow the Golden Rule; however, younger generations are less likely than their older counterparts to believe that being religious is necessary in order to live a moral life."
Also: "Americans find themselves looking to family more often than religious teachings when looking for sources of moral guidance."
The connection between faith and politics, the survey also noted, is "at an interesting crossroads."
It found that while a majority of Americans do not feel as if their religion plays a role in their political affiliation, "one’s political stance can be a strong indicator of the role they feel religion does and should play in society."
To this end: "Republicans are more likely than Democrats to believe the future of the nation lies in God’s hands rather than in the American people’s control, and Republicans are also more likely to see divine inspiration as having a hand in the creation of the Constitution and key amendments."
"Most Americans say the U.S. Constitution was inspired by God."
Boyd noted in the release about the survey that "the vast majority of Americans — 7 in 10 — believe the country would be better off if we prayed for each other."
In addition, "most Americans say the U.S. Constitution was inspired by God."
He noted that "despite headlines that emphasize religion's decline, faith remains a strong moral force in American life."
Overall, "family and faith continue to guide the moral values of the population."
Only a very small percentage of Americans, by the way, look to popular figures in American culture — such as star athletes, actors, influencers and the like — for moral guidance, according to the survey.
"I think the surprising thing there is that people really look to the family, and then secondarily, to their faith teachings, for moral guidance" in their lives, Boyd said of the survey findings.
The survey was conducted between Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 of this year among 1,653 U.S. adults; it's a nationally representative sample, said Boyd.