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Americans Celebrate the Fourth of July

by Darren K. Carlson

More than half say that the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be pleased with the way the United States has turned out

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- This Wednesday, Americans will celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the event that sparked the American Revolution and led to the eventual creation of the United States of America. Whether they know the origins of the holiday or not, Americans will celebrate in a variety of ways. The results of a new Gallup poll show that the holiday will likely be filled with barbecues, family, fireworks, and flags for most Americans. Nearly eight in 10 Americans (78%) say they will attend a picnic or barbecue, the most popular Fourth of July activity among those tested. Most Americans, 76%, will celebrate with family. Other common activities include displaying an American flag (66%) and attending fireworks displays (63%).

Which of the following, if any, do you think you will do this Fourth of July? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

 

2001 Jun 28-Jul 1
(sorted by "yes, will do")


Yes, will do


No, will not


No opinion

%

%

%

Give or attend a barbecue, picnic, or cookout

78

20

2

Get together with family members

76

23

1

Display an American flag

66

33

1

Attend a fireworks display

63

36

1

Watch a Fourth of July parade

32

66

2

Fire off your own fireworks

26

73

1



Watching a parade and firing off their own fireworks were the least mentioned activities in the June 28-July 1 poll, with 32% and 26% respectively. But those events do garner more interest among specific age groups. Older Americans are more likely to watch a parade -- 41% of those over age 65 say will do so, compared to 30% of 50-64 year olds, 29% of 30-49 year olds and 29% of 18-29 year olds. Fireworks are more popular among younger Americans, as 48% of 18-29 year olds say they will fire some off on the Fourth, compared to 31% of 30-49 year olds, 18% of 50-64 year olds, and just 4% of those over age 65.

Americans Pass History Quiz, Think Forefathers Would Be Pleased.

As Americans gather for fireworks, food and fun this Fourth of July, the majority will be doing so with an understanding of the day's significance. Gallup asked the public what specific event is celebrated on this holiday. Sixty-one percent gave the correct answer (Signing of the Declaration of Independence) and another 26% gave answers that are essentially correct (America's independence, birth of the United States). However, 13% either gave incorrect answers or did not have an answer at all. (Younger Americans are just as likely as older Americans to give a correct answer.)

Another question probed Americans on their knowledge of the American Revolution, asking, "As far as you know, from what country did America gain its independence following the Revolutionary War?" Again, Americans generally pass the test -- the majority (76%) correctly answered England, Great Britain, or the United Kingdom. Almost a quarter (24%) either gave an incorrect answer, or did not have an answer.

America has undergone vast changes in the more than 200 years since its founding. But have all of those changes been for the better? One final Gallup poll question asked Americans whether they thought the signers of the Declaration would be pleased with the way the United States turned out. A majority of Americans (54%) say that they think America's forefathers would be pleased, while 42% say they would be disappointed. At first inspection, this may not appear to be a ringing endorsement of the state of the American dream. However, these results show a marked improvement from the answers of two years ago. At that time, 44% said the signers would be pleased, while 55% said they would be disappointed.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,014 adults, 18 years and older, conducted June 28-July 1, 2000. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Which of the following, if any, do you think you will do this Fourth of July? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

 

2001 Jun 28-Jul 1
(sorted by "yes, will do")


Yes, will do


No, will not


No opinion

%

%

%

Give or attend a barbecue, picnic, or cookout

78

20

2

Get together with family members

76

23

1

Display an American flag

66

33

1

Attend a fireworks display

63

36

1

Watch a Fourth of July parade

32

66

2

Fire off your own fireworks

26

73

1



As far as you know, what specific historical event is celebrated on July 4th? [Open-ended]

 

 

2001 Jun 28-Jul 1

1999 Jun 25-27

%

%

Signing of the Declaration of Independence

61

55

America's Independence/Independence Day

24

32

Birth of the United States

2

1

Family get-togethers

1

--

Honoring veterans

1

--

Other

4

6

No opinion

7

6



As far as you know, from what country did America gain its independence following the Revolutionary War? [Open-ended]

 

 

2001 Jun 28-Jul 1

1999 Jun 25-27

%

%

England/Great Britain/United Kingdom

76

76

France

2

2

The United States

1

--

Mexico

1

Europe

*

Other

1

3

No opinion

19

19



Overall, do you think the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be pleased or disappointed by the way the United States has turned out?

 

 

Pleased

Disappointed

No opinion

       

2001 Jun 25-Jul 1

54%

42

4

       

1999 Jun 25-27

44%

55

1



Gallup


Gallup http://news.gallup.com/poll/4576/americans-celebrate-fourth-july.aspx
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