In the fall of 2002, a year after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, 90 percent of adults expressed pride in the workings of American democracy. Twelve years later, it had fallen to 74 percent and, in the fall of 2017, it had dropped again to 63 percent.
Notably, in 2002, 49 percent of adults said they were “very proud” of the way democracy was working in this country. In the new survey, that number had plunged to 11 percent as both sides found reasons for dismay.
Two decades ago, Republicans and Democrats were uniform in their pride in democracy, with more than 9 in 10 in each party expressing positive views. That trend continued throughout the following decade or more, though overall pride in democracy was sliding down among both groups and independents. In 2017, a partisan division opened, with Republicans more positive than Democrats in the wake of Trump’s election. Today, as the percentage who express pride has fallen further, Republicans and Democrats are closer together in their views; about 4 in 10 of each say they are not proud.