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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

American Exceptionalism and Public Opinion

From Pew:
As Americans prepare to celebrate the country’s birthday, a clear majority considers the U.S. to be one of the greatest countries in the world. But the view that the U.S. is exceptional – standing above all other countries in the world – has declined 10 points since 2011.
About three-in-ten (28%) think that the U.S. “stands above all other countries in the world,” while most (58%) say it is “one of the greatest countries in the world, along with some others.”
Few Americans (12%) say there are other countries in the world “that are better than the U.S.”
Three years ago, 38% said the U.S. stood above all others, while 53% said it was one of the greatest nations and 8% thought some others were better than the U.S.
A declining percentage of Americans say the U.S. is among the greatest countries in the world.
At AEI, however, Charles Murray says that American exceptionalism does not necessarily entail a belief that America is above all other countries, merely that it is different in important ways:
American exceptionalism does not imply American excellence or superiority. Americans tend to think that most of the traits of American exceptionalism are positive, but others, especially European elites, have always disagreed. Even those of us who think they are positive must acknowledge aspects of American exceptionalism that are problematic.