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Most are Proud to be American, Republicans More Likely to Engage in Patriotic Activities
Daniel Cox, Ph.D., Juhem Navarro-Rivera, Robert P. Jones, Ph.D.,
06.27.2013

I. Most are Proud to be American

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.

II. Patriotic Activities

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.

III. America's Role in the World

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.


Recommended citation:

Jones, Robert P., Daniel Cox, and Juhem Navarro-Rivera. “Most Are Proud to Be American, Republicans More Likely to Engage in Patriotic Activities.” PRRI. 2013. http://www.prri.org/research/july-2013-prri-rns/.