For all of the red white and blue on display in honor of America’s soccer exploits this week, an exhaustive new Pew poll shows that actual patriotism is in the dumps. An amazing 44 percent of all respondents said they didn’t often feel proud to be American. Only 28 percent said that America was the greatest nation on earth. So how do you unite people to save the country if they’re not invested in its success? And how do you reverse a belief that is searing in its self-fulfillment? We talk a lot in America about economic, demographic and other “tipping points,” but the patriotism gap is arguably the most important of all.
Liberals care less – Pew divided their sample into different categories across the left-right political spectrum. When asked if respondents “often feel proud to be American,” a majority of strong liberals, 60 percent, said no. The only group that solidly agreed with the statement was conservatives, ranging from 72 percent to 81 percent. About half of the respondents in the middle of the spectrum – essentially libertarians to socially conservative fiscal liberals – said they were proud to be American.
Taking exception with exceptionalism – When asked if the United States ranks above other countries, fewer than three in 10 overall said the U.S “stands above all other counties” while 58 percent said the U.S. “is one of the greatest countries, along with some others.” And 12 percent of respondents definitively said “there are other countries that are better than the U.S.” When broken down into groups, conservatives are tops on exceptionalism at 46 percent.