SALT LAKE CITY, March 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The results of a national poll released today provide new insights into Americans' views on honesty and the Ten Commandments, and how people regard the "little white lies" we tell each other in our everyday lives. The survey also found that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they would vote for a presidential candidate who lies, but not more likely to vote for a gubernatorial candidate who lies. The percentage of Republicans who say they would support a presidential candidate they agree with even if the candidate seems "willing to lie to cover up the truth" has grown from 12 percent to 55 percent since a Fox News poll asked the same question in 2015.

 (PRNewsfoto/Deseret News)

The nationally representative, online poll is part of the fifth annual Deseret News Ten Today project. It was conducted March 10-13, 2018, by YouGov and designed by Y2 Analytics to study Americans' views on honesty and on the Ten Commandments more broadly.

"It is revealing that Americans are more accepting of certain lies than they once were, especially as social media makes it easier for people to mislead others, whether to do harm or simply make themselves look good," said Allison Pond, editor of the Deseret News In-depth team and a former Pew Research Center staffer. "With Easter and Passover approaching, we wanted to examine how Americans viewed the Ten Commandments today and, in particular, how they felt about lying."

Some of the findings of the poll — which drew 1,000 responses from Americans across racial, religious, gender and age groups — include:


  • More Americans see calling in sick to work, exaggerating the facts of a story or inflating one's resume as acceptable than in 2006. The vast majority of respondents (87%) say lying about an affair is never okay, and over 70 percent do not accept cheating on taxes, parents lying to protect kids' grades, or appearing younger in a dating profile.
  • Men and women do not think alike when it comes to matters of lying. Men are more likely to be okay with cheating on taxes, inflating the details of a resume, lying to a child's teacher and lying to a spouse about an affair.
  • Evangelical Protestants and Mormons are most likely to say lying is never okay; Catholics generally fall near the U.S. average and religious "nones" are most okay with lying, especially about calling in sick to work, inflating a resume, or lying to child about a parent's past misbehavior.


  • Overall, Americans say they would not support a 2020 presidential candidate with whom they agree on policy but who "would lie to cover up the truth." However, real partisan differences exist, with a majority of Republicans (55%) saying they would still support a dishonest presidential candidate but a large majority of Democrats (70%) saying it "would be a deal breaker."
  • When it comes to voting for a gubernatorial candidate who lies, however, there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats. Overall, 36 percent of Americans say they still would vote for the presidential candidate, but only 29 percent say they would for the candidate for governor. 
  • The overall number of voters who say they would support a presidential candidate they agree with even if the candidate seems willing to lie to cover up the truth has grown from 21 percent to 36 percent since 2015, an increase that has taken place entirely among Republicans (12 percent to 55 percent) and Independents (16 percent to 27 percent).

The Ten Commandments

  • At least half of Americans think it is still important to live each of the Ten Commandments, while in the UK (according to a poll by YouGov last year), only six of the ten are seen as still important. Belonging to a religion, no matter the tradition, is correlated with the idea that obedience to the Ten Commandments, including basic honesty, is still important today.
  • Women are more likely than men to say that each of the commandments are still important; the biggest gaps between men and women on the commandments are to not covet others' possessions and not commit adultery.
  • The Silent Generation consistently thinks the commandments are important to live by more than any other generation; millennials place the least importance on the commandments.

More results from the poll can be found at, along with a copy of the full report for download.

The Deseret News is also releasing a content series exploring the study's implications in depth. The articles include:

  • What do Americans think counts as dishonesty? Reactions to nine hypothetical situations
  • Politics, honesty and tribalism in Trump's America
  • The split between Americans and Brits — and young and old Americans — on whether Ten Commandments should be kept today

The annual Ten Today project looks at the relevance of the Ten Commandments in modern life. Last year's poll explored adultery and what constitutes cheating in the digital age. This year's survey was created to contribute new research to conversations about honesty in public life and in Americans' own lives.

The poll was designed by Doug Wilks, Editor of the Deseret News; Allison Pond, Senior Editor, In-Depth and Special Projects and a former Pew Research Center staffer; and Scott Riding and Quin Monson of Y2 Analytics, a research consultancy.


YouGov interviewed 1,523 respondents, who were then matched down to a sample of 1,250 to produce the final dataset of 1,000 general population interviews plus 250 interviews of Mormons. The general population respondents were matched to a sampling frame on gender, age, race and education. The frame was constructed by stratified sampling from the full 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year sample with selection within strata by weighted sampling with replacements (using the person weights on the public use file). The matched general population cases were weighted to the sampling frame using propensity scores. The matched cases and the frame were combined and a logistic regression was estimated for inclusion in the frame. The propensity score function included age, gender, race/ethnicity, years of education and region. The propensity scores were grouped into deciles of the estimated propensity score in the frame and post-stratified according to these deciles. The weights were then post-stratified on 2016 Presidential vote choice and a four-way stratification of gender, age (4-categories), race (4-categories) and education (4-categories) to produce the final general population weight.

The Mormon sample was matched and weighted to a sampling frame of Mormon adults constructed from the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) sample. Data on interest in politics, party identification and religion were then matched to this frame from the 2007 Pew Religious Life Survey. The propensity score function included age, gender, race/ethnicity, years of education, ideology and region. The weights were then post-stratified on a four-way stratification of gender, age (4-categories), race (4-categories) and education (4-categories) to produce the final Mormon sample weight.


Founded in 1850, the Deseret News ( offers news, analysis and commentary for family-oriented audiences across the country. The award-winning writers at the Deseret News keep their growing readership informed with real-world solutions that can make a positive difference in families and communities. The Deseret News, the first news organization and longest continuously-operating business in the state of Utah, is a top-25 online national newspaper.

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