Poll: Presidential moral leadership less important to Republicans

Across four polls conducted during the Clinton administration, an average of 72% of U.S. adults said it was very important for the president to provide moral leadership for the country. A May 1-10 update of the question finds 66% of Americans holding that view.

The modest change at the national level obscures more significant shifts among partisans — a 23-percentage-point decline among Republicans and a 13-point increase among Democrats.

Both Clinton, a Democrat, and Trump, a Republican, faced substantial controversy during their presidential campaigns, and it followed them after they were elected president. It appears that some partisans may discount the importance of the president providing moral leadership when a sitting president from their own party is under scrutiny. At the same time, some supporters of the opposition party may magnify the importance of moral leadership when this is a weak area for the incumbent.