American Pride Hits New Low; Few proud of the political system

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Story Highlights

  • 45% are “extremely” proud, the second consecutive year of readings below 50%
  • 22% of Democrats are extremely proud, down 10 points in one year
  • Americans proudest of American scientific, military success; least proud of politics

WASHINGTON, DC – As Americans prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, their pride in the United States has sunk to its lowest point since Gallup’s first measurement in 2001. While 70% of adults Americans say they are proud to be Americans, this includes less than half (45%) who are “extremely” proud, marking the second year in a row that this reading has fallen below the majority level. Democrats continue to lag far behind Republicans in expressing extreme pride in the United States

These findings are explored in more detail with new measures of public pride in eight aspects of US government and society. American scientific, military, and cultural/artistic achievements engender the most pride, while the American political system and health and welfare system garner the least.

A decreasing percentage in the United States are extremely proud to be American

American adults’ extreme pride in being American has steadily waned in recent years, and the current reading, from a June 3-16 Gallup poll, marks the lowest point yet. However, the latest drop of two percentage points from last year’s 47% is not a statistically significant change.

The highest readings on the measure, 69% and 70%, occurred between 2002 and 2004, after the September 11 terrorist attacks, when the American public expressed a high level of patriotism and rallied behind the US government. . Yet since the start of George W. Bush’s second term in office in 2005, less than 60% of Americans have expressed extreme pride in being American.

Democrats continue to express weak American pride

The latest overall declines in patriotism are largely driven by Democrats, whose self-reported pride has historically been lower and has fluctuated more than that of Republicans. The latest extreme pride reading of 22% from Democrats is the lowest of the group in 19 years of Gallup measurement, and is half of what it was several months before Donald Trump’s election victory in 2016.

For their part, most Republicans have remained extremely proud of their country, and the latest reading of 76% is just 10 points below the peak recorded in 2003. Even when Barack Obama was in office, the extreme pride of Republicans never fell below 68%.

Independents have always been less proud of the United States than Republicans; currently, 41% express extreme pride – which is, by one point, the lowest reading on the trend.

Line graph.  Percentages of Americans who are

Several subgroups that generally identify as Democrats — women, liberals, and young adults — all express lower levels of extreme American pride than their counterparts.

    Bar chart.  Pride of being an American among major subgroups.

Sources of Pride in the U.S. Government and Society

To understand the sources of American pride, Gallup included a new question in the June poll. The question asked Americans if eight aspects of American government and society made them proud. Strong majorities express pride in six of eight American scientific achievements (91%), the American military (89%), American culture and arts (85%), economic achievements (75%) and sports achievements (73%). ), and diversity of race, ethnicity and religion (72%).

Conversely, the American political system (32%) and the health and welfare system (37%) are not the pride of most Americans.

Bar chart.  The Pride of Americans in Eight Aspects of American Society and Government.

The biggest disparities in the opinions of Republicans and Democrats on these eight aspects relate to American economic achievements (89% of Republicans against 64% of Democrats are proud), the American political system (42% of Republicans against 25% of Democrats), and the US military (98% Republicans versus 84% ​​Democrats).

Conclusion

American patriotism, at historic lows, is the latest casualty of the highly polarized political climate in the United States today. For the second time in 19 years, less than half of American adults say they are extremely proud to be American. The drop reflects the fall in Democrat pride since Trump took office, although Republican pride has increased slightly.

Although neither party group is proud of the American political system, the politics may affect Democrats’ overall sense of pride in their country more than Republicans’, given the president’s low Democratic endorsement of the president. . Democrats’ awareness of Trump’s historically low presidential approval rating in the international community may also be a factor in this latest drop in patriotism. The same goes for Gallup data from earlier this year, which found that only 31% of Americans (including 2% of Democrats) think foreign leaders have respect for Trump.

In the absence of a significant national event that could rally all Americans around the flag, given Democrats’ entrenched opinion of the president, these historically low readings on American pride are likely to continue until Trump is no longer in power.

The good news is that despite a decline in overall pride, the country offers many accomplishments that are a source of pride for Americans — Democrats and Republicans alike.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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