Boy sticking tongue out at cameraIn a recent survey of American adults, 69% felt that Americans are becoming ruder and less civilized. (You might wonder if the other 31% threatened to beat the stuffing out of the telephone pollster asking the question, but that was not the case.)

The phone poll, by Rasmussen Reports, found that only 14% of the responders felt that our countrymen and women were kinder and gentler; 17% were undecided. That's better than last year when 75% of respondents said they felt Americans were getting more boorish.

The phone survey, which was conducted in mid-August, also found that what is considered rude behavior is starting to change. This year, 43% of adults said it was rude if someone talks on their cell phone while sitting next to them. Last year, 51% of respondents found the action rude.

Of those surveyed, 62% felt that we are ruder to salespeople and wait staff than we were ten years ago, while 57% believed that salespeople and wait staff are, in turn, more rude to customers.

If they'd asked me, I could have suggested other examples of rudeness, including

  • People who come to work sick
  • Left lane slowpokes
  • BLOG COMMENTERS WHO USE THE CAPS LOCK KEY
  • Shirtless, pot-bellied men
  • Smokers who dump their ashtrays in parking lots
Other interesting findings from the study:

  • Adults over 50 are more likely to consider talking on a cell phone in public to be rude behavior.
  • Only 32% of those surveyed believe that the U.S. should have a law similar to one in France that makes it a crime to verbally or psychologically abuse one's spouse.
  • More men than women have had occasion to call someone out on their rude public behavior.
  • 65% of respondents believe the country is "headed down the wrong track."
What would you cite as examples that the U.S. is or is not becoming a ruder country?

This story was corrected on Wednesday, Sept. 1 to reflect the results of the 2010 survey.

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