Besides firecrackers and outside gatherings, this Independence Day (4th July) gives people across the United States an opportunity to reflect what it means being an American.
In spite of increasing polarization, citizens over the political spectrum appear to be largely united on being patriotic, as indicated by new discoveries from the McCourtney Institute for Democracy’s Mood of the Nation Poll.
The poll showed that liberals and conservatives (Democrats, Republicans, and Independents; people of all colors; young and old alike) embraced many of the traditional symbols and ideals of patriotism enthusiastically. It also showed that not every individual has the same view on patriotism.
72% Republicans were shown to have gratefulness toward expressions like ‘being proud of the country we are from and thankful for the freedoms and the rights that our troops fight for us’.
60% Republicans and Democrats expressed their support for traditional measures of patriotism, including honoring service members, saluting the flag and respecting values like freedom.
While support for the military and its members was bipartisan, Democrats and Republicans showed divisions on different sorts of actions that encompassed their perspectives on patriotism. Democrats were more likely to talk about caring across the community both locally and internally, while Republicans took an “America first” position.
A 54-year-old Democrat from Maryland said patriotism meant, “always supporting and defending your country, but not blindly supporting your government when it is doing bad things.”
Some Americans expressed skepticism at the idea of patriotism in an undeniably global and interconnected world. 75+ percent of respondents aged 65 and older said that patriotism is significant in their day by day lives, while just 21 percent of those under age 30 felt a similar way.
A 25-year-old independent in Pennsylvania said, “I don’t really buy into the concept of patriotism. I think it is often just thinly veiled racism and over-zealous nationalism, which I view as damaging.”
The poll also found a division in the perception of patriotism across racial lines. African American and Hispanic respondents placed a priority on helping people as individuals, rather than on pride and love of country.
Every Mood of the Nation Poll reflects answers given by a scientifically selected, representative sample of 1,000 adults. Fieldwork is conducted in association with YouGov, a web-based market research and data analytics firm.