Survey | Ahead of Independence Day: Most are Proud to be American, Republicans More Likely to Engage in Patriotic Activities
June PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey
Eight-in-ten Americans report that they are extremely (51%) or very proud (31%) to be American. Roughly 1-in-10 (12%) say they are moderately proud, and 4% say they are only a little proud or not proud.
- Republicans (68%) are also more likely to report being extremely proud than Democrats (49%) or independents (47%), though majorities of all political groups say they are extremely or very proud.
- White evangelicals also report stronger feelings of pride than other religious groups. More than two-thirds (68%) of white evangelicals say they are extremely proud to be American, compared to 56% of white mainline Protestants, 49% of minority Christians, 48% of Catholics, and 39% of religiously unaffiliated Americans.
- Nearly two-thirds of seniors (age 65 and over) report being extremely proud to be American, compared to 39% of young adults (age 18 to 29).
Americans give a wide range of reasons for their feelings of pride about America. Roughly 1-in-5 (17%) say their military service or American military achievements — including the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden — have made them most proud to be American. Fourteen percent cite the response to the September 11th terrorist attacks, and 12% cite freedom in American society as things about which they feel most proud. Smaller numbers mention humanitarian assistance and disaster response (8%), personal experience or success (7%), the values of equality and opportunity (6%), Obama’s election (6%), or the moon landing (5%) as things that make them most proud to be an American.
- Democrats and Republicans differ significantly in the reasons they provide for being proud to be an American. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to cite Obama’s election (15% vs. 1%) or the values of equality and opportunity (9% vs. 1%).
- Republicans are more likely then Democrats to cite American symbols such as the Constitution or major political figures such as Ronald Reagan (9% vs. 0%).
- Republicans and Democrats are about equally likely to cite freedom as the thing that makes them most proud to be American (13% vs. 17%).
Roughly one-third (31%) of Americans say there has been a time when they were not proud to be an American.
- Democrats (36%) and independents (30%) are more likely than Republicans (23%) to report that there was a time when they were not proud to be an American.
Americans who say there was a time when they were not proud to be American also cite a wide range of reasons. The most frequently mentioned reasons for not being proud to be an American are the wars in Iraq and Vietnam (29%) and the treatment of minority groups or racism (14%). Roughly 1-in-10 Americans cite some aspect of American culture (e.g. gun violence, the acceptance of gay and lesbian rights), the election of Barack Obama (11%), the election of George W. Bush (10%), or the role of America in the world (9%) as reasons they do not feel proud to be an American.
A majority of Americans report they are very likely to engage in the following activities related to patriotism: thanking members of the military for their service (81%), singing the national anthem (69%), displaying an American flag at their home or on their car (59%), attending a July 4th celebration this year (53%), or making a special effort to buy American-made products (50%).
- More than three-quarters (76%) of Republicans say they are very likely to display the flag, compared to less than half (48%) of Democrats.
- Roughly 6-in-10 white evangelical Protestants (62%) and white mainline Protestants (57%) report that they are very likely to attend a July 4th celebration, compared to less than half of Catholics (49%) and the religiously unaffiliated (48%).
- White Americans (66%) are more likely than Hispanic Americans (50%) or black Americans (40%) to report being very likely to display an American flag.
Americans hold largely positive views about America’s role in history and in the world today. Nearly 8-in-10 (79%) say America has always been a force for good in the world, and nearly two-thirds (64%) believe God has granted America a special role in human history. More than 6-in-10 (63%) say if more countries adopted America’s values and way of life, the world would be much better off.
- Conservatives are more likely than liberals to believe the world would be better off if more countries adopted America’s values and way of life (74% vs. 52%).
- More than 8-in-10 white evangelicals agree that God has granted America a special role in human history, compared to 40% of religiously unaffiliated Americans.
- Roughly three-quarters of white evangelical Protestants (74%) and Catholics (76%) believe that the world would be better off if more countries adopted America’s values and way of life. Less than half (49%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans agree.
More than 7-in-10 Americans think of themselves as a “typical American,” while 1-in-4 (25%) say they are very different from a typical American. Americans who are white and older are more likely than others to think of themselves as a typical American.