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Friday, June 28, 2013

Patriotism and Public Opinion

At AEI, Karlyn Bowman, Jennifer Marisco, and Andrew Rugg summarize surveys on patriotism and related matters:
How patriotic?: Last year, when the Pew Research Center asked people whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement “I am very patriotic,” 52% said they agreed completely with it and another 36% mostly agreed. Only 9% mostly or completely disagreed.

Patriotic activities: The Public Religion Research Institute recently asked respondents how likely they were to engage in a variety of patriotic activities. Eighty-one percent said it was very likely they would thank a member of the military for their service. Sixty-nine percent said the same about singing the national anthem, 59% displaying the American flag at their home or car, 53% attending a public 4th of July celebration, and 50% said they would make a special effort to buy products that are made in American.

Canada, here we don’t come: In an April CBS News/Vanity Fair poll, 92% of those surveyed said they had never thought of moving to Canada. In another question in the poll, a resounding 70% answered “no” when asked if there were ever a time when they wished they were not an American. Of the remainder, 9% said they wished they weren’t an American when the government does something they don’t like, 7% when watching reality TV, 4% when doing their taxes, and 3% when travelling abroad.

Thomas Paine: Forty-four percent of Americans surveyed by CBS News/Vanity Fair pollsters were able to identify Thomas Paine as an American revolutionary who wrote Common Sense, and another 40% were not.

I pledge allegiance: In the poll, 61% told the interviewers it was very important for children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each school day and another 22% said it was somewhat important. More than 70% of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, respectively, said this was very or somewhat important.

If the Founding Fathers were alive: The patriotic sentiments stand in stark contrast to views about Washington, DC. In Gallup’s June sounding, only 27% were satisfied with the way things were going in the country and 71% were dissatisfied. In a new mid-June Fox poll of registered voters, just 35% said they trusted the federal government. In another question in the poll, Congress had a 15% job approval rating. Only 13% said they thought the Founding Fathers would approve of how things are going in Washington today, while 82% disapproved.