A new nationwide poll found that Americans’ religious faith and political leaning greatly determine their degree of patriotism – or lack thereof – that they feel toward the nation and what it stands for.
Research conducted by the American Culture & Faith Institute (ACFI) revealed that those who identify as Christians are the most likely of any religious adherents in the United States to regard themselves as lovers of their country.
“People associated with the Christian faith rated themselves higher in terms of personal patriotism (64 percent extremely or very patriotic) than did those associated with non-Christian faiths (38 percent) or with no faith (40 percent),” ACFI researchers divulged. “Within the Christian universe, Protestant Christians rated themselves more highly on the patriotism scale than did Catholics.”
Demographics determine patriotism
Political persuasion was also found to be a major factor when it comes to patriotism, as ACFI noted that conservatives are “twice as likely” than moderates and liberals to consider themselves as “extremely patriotic.”
“Conservatives (78 percent) and Republicans (81 percent) were more likely than their political counterparts to describe themselves as either ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ patriotic,” the poll revealed. “Far lower on the continuum, but similar to each other, were Moderates (52 percent) and liberals (51 percent), with independents (57 percent) slightly more likely than Democrats (52 percent) to define themselves as at least ‘very patriotic.’”
It was discovered that race can also be a determinant of just how patriotic Americans are.
“White adults were more likely than non-white adults to consider themselves to be patriotic,” ACFI pointed out. “While two-thirds of whites (65 percent) said they were either extremely or very patriotic, the same designations were embraced by about half of Hispanics (53 percent) and a minority of blacks (44 percent).”
Overall, a majority of Americans still feel a strong sense of pride toward their nation.
“Six out of every 10 Americans (59 percent) characterize themselves as either ‘extremely’ (23 percent) or ‘very’ (36 percent) patriotic,” the results show. “About one out of four adults took the middle ground, claiming to be ‘somewhat’ patriotic (28 percent), while the rest of the public were either less patriotic or not sure.”
Red pride, blue shame
When asked if they “completely” hold to the idea that they “feel proud to be an American,” just under half of all respondents agreed, but most conservatives heartily embrace this concept in their lives.
“Another one-third [of all Americans] (36 percent) say that description is ‘mostly accurate,’” the researchers found. “Two-thirds of Republicans and conservatives say it is ‘completely accurate’ to describe them as being proud to be American. In contrast, less than half of the people in the other major political subgroups – moderates, liberals, Democrats, and independents – embrace that depiction.”
Age, religion and race were also discovered to have an impact on the results.
“Other groups that rated above the norm on the ‘American pride’ measure were adults 65 or older (64 percent), born again Christians (56 percent), and whites (49 percent),” ACFI explained. “Those who were notably unlikely to claim such pride included Skeptics (28 percent) and adults under 30 years of age (34 percent).
When it comes to determining whether people in the U.S. are becoming more patriotic or anti-American, there are mixed results.
“Overall, just one out of every eight adults (13 percent) claims patriotism is on the rise, while half of the nation believes it is waning – about one-quarter says it is stable, and one-tenth did not know,” ACFI noted. “Since most Americans think of themselves as highly patriotic, clearly the problem is ‘them’ – those other Americans who don’t get it. When the political views and commitments of respondents are taken into consideration, the results of these questions assume a somewhat different pallor, [as] conservatives (62 percent) are far more likely than either moderates (49 percent) or liberals (36 percent) to perceive that Americans are becoming less patriotic.”
Central elements and symbols of American life
Nine fundamental symbols and precepts that most American think of when defining America are still found to be highly embraced by most.
“In assessing some of the more widely recognized elements, the survey discovered that nearly nine out of 10 adults (87 percent) consider freedom of speech to be personally ‘very meaningful,’” those conducting the survey found. “Not far behind in perceived value were freedom of religion (very meaningful to 82 percent), citizenship (81 percent), and the Constitution (80 percent).”
A smaller majority – about two-thirds – considere traditional tributes to the nation as being very meaningful to them as Americans, while even less feel this way about the Word of God and gun ownership.
“[A relatively high percentage revere] the American flag (70 percent), the national anthem (65 percent), and the pledge of allegiance (65 percent),” ACFI continued. “About six out of 10 adults deemed the Bible (60 percent) and the right to bear arms (57 percent) to be very meaningful to them.”
When responses to the nine symbols and elements were broken down, it was found that politics had a lot to do with the results.
“Conservatives registered the highest score – i.e., were the most likely to say each item evaluated was ‘very meaningful’ to them – on each of the nine elements tested,” the polling group indicated. “The lone exception related to freedom of speech, which liberals were equally passionate about.”
A huge gap was discovered between conservatives and liberals when it comes to respecting the traditional tenets of American society.
“Liberals were 20 points less likely to consider citizenship personally very meaningful and 27 points less likely to assign high value to the right to bear arms,” ACLI asserted. “They were even less likely to attach meaning to the American flag (30 points less), the pledge of allegiance (33 points lower), the national anthem (36 points lower), and the Bible (38 points lower). This is reflective of the substantially different worldviews held by conservatives and liberals.”
Even though the founding document that set the standard for Americans hundreds of years ago – back in 1787 – is not revered as highly by those of the left, respondents on both sides of the party line agree that certain freedoms – along with holding official status as an American – are still extremely important.
“While Republicans were notably more likely to revere the Constitution than were either Democrats or independents, all three segments had a similar level of respect for citizenship, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion,” ACLI stressed. “Democrats and independents had similar and significantly lower levels of appreciation for the American flag, the national anthem, the pledge of allegiance, the Bible, and the right to bear arms than did Republicans. The largest gaps related to the national anthem – 30-point difference between Republicans and Democrats – and the pledge of allegiance (29-point gap).”
ACFI Executive Director George Barna considered the overall findings of the poll to be disturbing for America.
“One of the historical strengths of the nation was that citizens may have had differences of opinion on issues and policies, but they had a shared understanding of what it meant to be American – a common body of ideas and behaviors that facilitated unity,” Barna impressed, according to WND. “This research, though, shows just the opposite: there are two very different perspectives about the nature of being American. Unless we address the differences that underlie those competing, parallel views we are bound to see the current partisan divide become even more severe.”
Results holding true
The ACFI poll reflected the same trend about patriotism in America that the Gallup Poll conducted in March found, with conservatives registering even more pronounced degrees of patriotism months ago than their more progressive counterparts.
“Sixty-seven percent of Democrats say they are ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ proud to be Americans – down 11 percentage points from a year ago,” Gallup revealed last spring. “Republicans (92 percent) and independents (73 percent) are about as likely now as in 2016 to express such patriotic sentiments.”
It was also noted that Democrats’ anti-American sentiments are at an all-time high – a reaction that Gallup says typically has to do with their negative view of the president.
“The percentage of Democrats saying they are proud is the lowest Gallup has measured to date, falling below the previous low of 74 percent recorded in January 2007,” America’s most recognized polling group pointed out. “That survey was conducted when Republican President George W. Bush had a 36-percent job approval rating and just after he announced a ‘surge’ in U.S. troops to Iraq to attempt to turn around U.S. fortunes in the increasingly unpopular war.”
Today, anti-American sentiments appear to be tied to an unfavorable depiction of President Donald Trump – a negative concept that has been generated and incessantly reinforced by the mainstream media since more than a year before the 2016 Presidential Election.
“The decline in Democratic pride this year most likely stems from Democrats' negative feelings about President Donald Trump; fewer than 10 percent of Democrats approve of the job Trump is doing,” Gallup reported at the time. “In addition to the 67 percent of Democrats who are extremely (43 percent) or very (24 percent) proud to be Americans, 18 percent say they are ‘moderately proud,’ 9 percent are ‘only a little proud’ and 5 percent are ‘not at all proud.’ The combined 14 percent of Democrats who express little or no pride is up from 6 percent last year.”
This has been found to be the polar opposite when it comes to conservatives.
“Republicans' pride remains high at 92 percent – close to the average 94 percent Gallup has measured for the group since 2001,” Gallup’s researchers recounted earlier this year. “Republicans usually rank among the subgroups expressing the most pride. Independents' current level of pride is six points lower than their historical average of 79 percent. The current 25-point gap in patriotic feelings between Republicans and Democrats is the highest in Gallup's records. In January 2007, the party gap was 21 points.”