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American Pride Hits New Low; Few Proud of Political System

American Pride Hits New Low; Few Proud of Political System

Story Highlights

  • 45% are "extremely" proud, the second straight year of sub-50% readings
  • 22% of Democrats are extremely proud, down 10 points in one year
  • Americans most proud of U.S. scientific success, military; least proud of politics

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Americans prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, their pride in the U.S. has hit its lowest point since Gallup's first measurement in 2001. While 70% of U.S. adults overall say they are proud to be Americans, this includes fewer than half (45%) who are "extremely" proud, marking the second consecutive year that this reading is below the majority level. Democrats continue to lag far behind Republicans in expressing extreme pride in the U.S.

These findings are explored further with new measurements of the public's pride in eight aspects of U.S. government and society. American scientific achievements, military and culture/arts engender the most pride, while the U.S. political system and health and welfare system garner the least.

Decreasing Percentage in U.S. Are Extremely Proud to Be American

U.S. adults' extreme pride in being American has been steadily weakening in recent years, and the current reading, from a June 3-16 Gallup poll, marks the lowest point to date. However, the latest two-percentage-point decline from last year's 47% is not a statistically significant change.

The highest readings on the measure, 69% and 70%, were between 2002 and 2004, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when the American public expressed high levels of patriotism and rallied around the U.S. government. Yet, since the start of George W. Bush's second presidential term in 2005, fewer than 60% of Americans have expressed extreme pride in being American.

Line graph. % of Americans who are “extremely proud” to be an American -- currently 45%, a new low; plus % extrem./very proud.

Democrats Continue to Express Low U.S. Pride

The latest overall declines in patriotism are largely driven by Democrats, whose self-reported pride has historically been lower and has fluctuated more than Republicans'. Democrats' latest 22% extreme pride reading is the group's lowest in Gallup's 19 years of measurement, and is half of what it was several months before Donald Trump's 2016 election victory.

For their part, most Republicans have remained extremely proud of their country, and the latest 76% reading is just 10 points below the high recorded in 2003. Even when Barack Obama was in office, Republicans' extreme pride never fell below 68%.

Independents have historically been less proud of the U.S. than Republicans have been; currently, 41% express extreme pride -- which is, by one point, the lowest reading in the trend.

Line graph. Percentages of Americans who are “extremely proud” to be an American since 2001, by party identification.

Several subgroups that typically identify as Democrats -- women, liberals and younger adults -- all express lower levels of extreme U.S. pride than their counterparts.

 Bar chart. Pride in being an American among major subgroups.

Sources of Pride in American Government and Society

In order to understand the sources of Americans' pride, Gallup included a new question in the June poll. The question asked Americans whether eight aspects of U.S. government and society make them proud. Strong majorities express pride in six of the eight -- American scientific achievements (91%), the U.S. military (89%), American culture and arts (85%), economic (75%) and sporting (73%) achievements, and diversity in race, ethnic background, and religion (72%).

Conversely, the American political system (32%) and health and welfare system (37%) are not sources of pride to most Americans.

Bar chart. Americans’ pride in eight aspects of U.S. society and government.

The greatest disparities in the views of Republicans and Democrats on these eight aspects are seen on American economic achievements (89% of Republicans vs. 64% of Democrats are proud), the U.S. political system (42% of Republicans vs. 25% of Democrats) and the U.S. military (98% of Republicans vs. 84% of Democrats).

Bottom Line

Record-low American patriotism is the latest casualty of the sharply polarized political climate in the U.S. today. For the second time in 19 years, fewer than half of U.S. adults say they are extremely proud to be Americans. The decline reflects plummeting pride among Democrats since Trump took office, even as Republican pride has edged higher.

While neither party group feels proud of the U.S. political system, politics may be affecting Democrats' overall sense of pride in their country more than Republicans', given Democrats' low approval of the president. Democrats' awareness of Trump's historically low presidential approval rating across the international community may also be a factor in this latest decline in patriotism. So too could be Gallup data from earlier this year, which found that just 31% of Americans (including 2% of Democrats) think foreign leaders have respect for Trump.

Absent a significant national event that might rally all Americans around the flag, given Democrats' entrenched views of the president, these historically low readings on American pride are likely to continue until Trump is no longer in office.

The good news is that despite a slump in overall pride, the country offers many achievements that are a source of pride for Americans -- Democrats and Republicans alike.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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