Who's Proud to Be an American?

by Joseph Carroll, Gallup Poll Assistant Editor

Republicans more likely than Democrats to say they are "extremely proud"

Americans are extremely proud of their country. Since 2001, Gallup has been asking Americans a simple question: "How proud are you to be an American?" The results consistently show that the majority of adults nationwide are proud, and a review of the Gallup data* over the past several years finds some interesting political and racial differences.

Overall Results

In 2001, when Gallup first asked this question, 55% of Americans said they were "extremely" proud to be Americans. This sentiment increased substantially after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, to 65% in June 2002 and 69% in September 2002. The percentage of Americans who say they are extremely proud to be American showed little change in 2003 and 2004, but at the beginning of this year, it dropped to 61% -- still slightly higher than before the 9/11 attacks but below the level of recent years.

How proud are you to be an American -- extremely proud, very proud, moderately proud, only a little proud, or not at all proud?


Extremely


Very


Moderately

Only a
 little

Not
at all

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2005 Jan 14-16

61

22

12

3

1

1

2004 Jan 2-5 ^

69

22

5

3

1

*

2003 Jun 27-29

70

20

6

2

1

1

2002 Sep 2-4

69

23

5

1

1

1

2002 Jun 17-19

65

25

6

1

2

1

2001 Jan 10-14

55

32

9

1

1

2

^Asked of a half sample

 
Pride and Politics
 
Party Affiliation

Republicans have been more inclined to express pride than Democrats when Gallup has asked this question. This may be because Gallup has only asked this question since George W. Bush, a Republican, has been president. Other Gallup measures show substantial partisan fluctuation depending on which party controls the White House. For instance, satisfaction with the state of the nation was higher among Democrats during the Clinton years, while it has been higher among Republicans since Bush took over in 2001.

In 2001, just days before Bush was sworn in as president, Gallup found a 10-point difference between Republicans (including Republican leaners) and Democrats (including Democratic leaners) who said they were extremely proud to be American. Since that time, the gap between the two groups has widened, with the largest difference in 2004, when 82% of Republicans and 57% of Democrats expressed this high level of pride. The latest results show the gap narrowing slightly, with 71% of Republicans and 54% of Democrats saying they are extremely proud.

In January 2001, roughly 6 in 10 Republicans said they were extremely proud to be American. This increased dramatically in 2002 and 2003 -- reaching a high of 84% in June 2003. By the beginning of 2005, though, the percentage dropped to 71%, which is still higher than what Gallup found among Republicans in 2001.

Among Democrats, the "extremely proud" percentage increased from a low 52% in 2001 to a high of 61% in 2002 and 2003. It has now declined to 54% -- roughly the same as it was in 2001.

Political Ideology

Conservatives are much more likely than moderates or liberals to say they are extremely proud to be American. The percentages of conservatives and moderates expressing this view increased in the period from 2001 to 2002. Among conservatives, this sentiment remained unchanged in 2003 and then declined this year, while views among moderates have shown essentially no change at all since June 2002. The level of pride among liberals shows only modest variation from 2001 through 2003, but Gallup's latest poll finds a significant drop in pride among this group.

Pride and Race

Since 2001, non-Hispanic whites have been much more likely than nonwhites to say they are extremely proud to be American. The percentage of both non-Hispanic whites and nonwhites who said they are extremely proud increased from 2001 to 2002 and held steady until this year, at which time pride levels decreased.

It might be assumed nonwhites are less likely to be proud since they overwhelmingly identify as Democrats. But even within party groups, the same racial differences are found.

The percentage of non-Hispanic whites who said they are extremely proud to be Americans ranged from a low of 58% in 2001 to a high of 74% in September 2002, about a week before the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Now, 64% of whites are extremely proud.

Only 39% of nonwhites were extremely proud in 2001. This sentiment increased over the next two years, to a high of 59% in June 2003, before decreasing slightly to 48% most recently.

Pride Among Men and Women

Gallup has consistently found men and women to express roughly the same level of pride since 2001. 

*These results are based on telephone interviews with randomly selected national samples of approximately 1,000 adults each, aged 18 and older, conducted January 2001 to January 2005. For results based on these samples, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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