Seven in 10 Are "Extremely" Proud to Be Americans This Independence Day

by Joseph Carroll

Public divided on whether Founding Fathers would be pleased, disappointed with the U.S. now

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- As Americans gear up for traditional Fourth of July celebrations around the country -- fireworks, barbecues, displaying American flags, or more simply, enjoying a long weekend away from work -- a new Gallup Poll finds what might be called a "patriotism perception gap." While most are personally extremely proud to be Americans, many perceive that other Americans are not so proud, and only half say the original signers of the Declaration of Independence would be pleased with the way the United States has turned out.

Overwhelming Majority Are Proud to Be Americans

The June 27-29 Gallup Poll asked Americans: "How proud are you to be an American?" A solid 70% of respondents say they are "extremely" proud, with an additional 20% saying they are "very" proud. A January 2001 poll, conducted prior to the events of Sept. 11, found somewhat lower levels of pride, as 55% of Americans said they were extremely proud to be Americans. After the attacks, however, pride in the country increased substantially, with upwards of two in three respondents saying they were extremely proud to be Americans in two 2002 polls. The current data show no decline in patriotism almost two years after the terrorist attacks.

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

Certain demographic groups are more inclined than others to express pride in the country, although a majority of Americans in all key demographic groups say they are extremely proud.

  • Eighty percent of conservatives are extremely proud of the country, compared with 68% of moderates and 56% of liberals.
  • Whites and nonwhites differ significantly on this measure, with 73% of whites and only 59% of nonwhites saying they are extremely proud.
  • Younger Americans are less likely to be extremely proud to be Americans than are those who are older. Six in 10 adults aged 18 to 29 say they are extremely proud, compared with about three in four Americans in both the 30-to-49 and 50-to-64 age groups as well as roughly two-thirds of adults aged 65 and older.
  • Likewise, more than 8 in 10 Republicans are extremely proud to be Americans, while two-thirds of Democrats feel this way.

Americans Question Their Fellow Citizens' Patriotism

The poll asked Americans to assess how proud they believe "most people in this country" are to be Americans. Only 42% of respondents say that most other people in the United States are "extremely" proud. An additional 35% say most people are "very" proud.

How proud are you to be an American? How proud do you think most people in this country are to be Americans?
June 27-29, 2003

The most skeptical respondents -- those who are least likely to assign the highest levels of patriotism to others -- include men (especially men aged 50 years and older), adults aged 18 to 29, people with postgraduate education, respondents with lower incomes, and liberals. About one-third of individuals in these groups say most other people are extremely proud to be Americans.

These results reflect a typical pattern by which poll respondents rate elements of their own environment more positively than they do the same elements elsewhere in the country. For example, Americans rate the quality of their local schools much more highly than those in the nation as a whole, and also say that crime is less of a problem for their area than for the United States. Also, Americans tend to give positive ratings to their own medical care, and to their district's representative in Congress, while giving much less positive ratings to medical care in the United States and to Congress as a whole.

Would the Signers of the Declaration of Independence Be Pleased?

A final question in the poll asked respondents whether the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be pleased or disappointed by the way the United States has turned out. The results show roughly an even split, with 50% saying the signers would be pleased and 48% saying they would be disappointed.

Overall, do you think the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be pleased or disappointed by the way the United States has turned out?

The current data show that Republicans are slightly more likely than Democrats to say the Founding Fathers would be pleased with the United States. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans say the signers would be pleased, while 40% say they would be disappointed. By comparison, Democrats are essentially split on this measure, with 49% saying pleased and 50% saying disappointed.

At this time in 2001, Americans were slightly more likely to say the signers would be pleased. But when Gallup first asked this question in the summer of 1999, a majority said they would be disappointed.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,003 adults, 18 years and older, conducted June 27-29, 2003. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent 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.

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

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

How proud do you think most people in this country are to be Americans -- 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

2003 Jun 27-29

42%

35

20

2

*

1

* Less than 0.5%

Overall, do you think the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be pleased or disappointed by the way the United States has turned out?

Pleased

Disappointed

No opinion

2003 Jun 27-29

50%

48

2

2001 Jun 28-Jul 1

54%

42

4

1999 Jun 25-27

44%

55

1

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