July 4th, 2008
09:48 AM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Founding fathers would be disappointed in America

Americans say the founding fathers would likely be disappointed with the state of the country.
Americans say the founding fathers would likely be disappointed with the state of the country.

(CNN) - As Americans celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, an overwhelming majority say the 56 signers of that document would be displeased at how the country has turned out.

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, close to 70 percent say that if the signers of the Declaration of Independence could see America today they would be disappointed, while just under 30 percent say the founding founders would be happy with the country 232 years later.

Americans didn't always feel that way - in 2001, 54 percent thought that the signers would be pleased with the state of the country today; now that figure is down to just 29 percent.

But the poll shows a majority of Americans are still proud of their country - 61 percent say they are extremely proud to be an American, and another 28 percent say they are very proud. Those figures are virtually unchanged from 2005, although they are down a bit from 2002 and 2003.

Should a presidential candidate always wear a flag pin on his lapel? Forty-one percent say yes, and another 13 percent say a candidate should frequently wear one. Only about one in ten say a candidate should never wear a flag pin on his lapel.

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soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Robert in Seattle

    If John Mcain is so interested in helping the country with it's need for power, why isn't Phoeinx AZ solar powered? If John "loves" his countrymen, he would wan't to end this false war (occupation)

    The only part of Iraq that he wan'ts to liberate is it's oil.

    Send the Iraqi's on the streets our own Declaration of Independence, it would apply to them the same as it applied to us.

    Get a grip on reality and stop drinking the Koolaid! The Neocons have returned this country to the Robberbarons and fatcats.

    July 4, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. American

    * Sen. John McCain has no public events.

    * Sen. Barack Obama takes part in a 4th of July parade in Butte, MT. Afterwards, he speaks at a family picnic.

    Where are all the members of PUCKA (PUMA)? Why are they not slamming McWalking Cain for not being patriotic?

    OBAMA '08 A true American family man.

    July 4, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. John Applewood (Northern California)

    Jose, do you have any facts to back up your claim of Obama's ignorance. Please, with your clearly infinite wisdom, enlighten us.

    Look in the mirror once in a while.

    July 4, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. Greg FL.

    CNN tabloid news beating a dead horse into submission. The Flag Pin issue is not an issue at all.

    July 4, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. icharliem

    One element of our society the founding fathers would be disappointed in is the incessant complaints by people of all spectrum ... Our founding fathers ... and mothers ... were pioneers, who forged their homes in a wilderness in the face of adversity ... Hard work and perseverance were their tools, and except for those who had something to say, most kept silent and went about their work and lives ... It's funny how we harken back on and revere those who documented our history, such as the founding fathers of our nation, but without the character of all the people that formed this country, the documents and who wrote them would be meaningless ... So we might take their lead and work more and say less ... and elect people who are thoughtful enough to reflect our better selves as Americans ...

    July 4, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. Math Wiz

    Hey Nestor,
    Your one sided view of the founding fathers is one of those side effects of the childish partisanship that would be the biggest dissappointments to those great men. Yes, Jefferson and Madison would agree with you, but Washington, Adams, Hamilton, and Franklin would not, and I'm pretty sure they too have been categorized as founding fathers. I know you don't think that they would interfere with peoples daily lives, but what was Washington doing during the Whiskey Rebellion? In fact, some might argue that the founding fathers were dissappointed that the government wasn't doing enough, i.e. dealing with the energy companies who are stymieing the economy located in your very own Houston.

    The reason the founding fathers would be dissappointed is in the way politics has become, and it is something Barack Obama pointed out in his book The Audacity of Hope. Our politicians have lost the ability to communicate and compromise, which is what this country was founded on. Hamilton and Jefferson had some great ideas, and some wacky ones at the same time. Our country is better because of the infusion of Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian principles, not one over the other. It has been the Bush Administration, from Cowboy diplomacy to Aristocracy, that would cause the founding fathers to shake their heads at us. The Republicans not always right and the Democrats not always wrong, and vice versa. Whoever our next president is must be able to rebuild the bridge between the two parties for the betterment of the nation.

    July 4, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    The flag pin is just smoke. Actions count. McCain spent 22 years in the Navy serving his country, 5 of which were under horrific conditions as a POW. Obama spent 20 years in a pew where racist and anti-American trash was preached. So who is more patriotic? Obama has done NOTHING to earn the priviledge to be President. He has not sponsored one key piece of legislation in the Senate. He has flip flopped on every issue: the war, NAFTA, gun ownership, religion, his pastor, his church, they even put a muzzle on his wife. OK, so that last one was a good thing.

    July 4, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. Flag Pins The Ultimate Test

    The real test of patriotism is not whether a presidential candidate wears a flag pin or not. It should be an issue of HOW MANY flag pins he wears. As a TRULY patriotic American, I won't be happy until I see a candidate wearing a suit made out of flag pins. That is the real test, my fellow patriots. Is there a candidate out there, American enough, to stick himself all over with flag pins and stand before us, a TRUE MAN, without tears in his eyes, reciting the Declaration of Independence. Anything less, and he is probably a communist.

    July 4, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. Bob Stephens

    Another thing you can chalk up to the Bushs.

    July 4, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. jim

    Obama now wishy/washy on the war..saying he doesn't know if he will pull us out. Already backing out on campaign promises and the touting that he was not going to use private money to fund his campaign.

    Obama is nothing more than a slogan with no legs. He is a con artist just like my governor with the same manager...Deval Patrick.

    What a bunch of dunces we all are.

    July 4, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Nate

    Yes, but they would have to admit this country is the GREATEST EVER!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY USA!

    July 4, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. Richard Painter

    The main thing that the founding fathers would be OUTRAGED about is the lack of accountability and the lack of backbone in our congress.
    The founding fathers would have immediately tried Bush and company for treason and proceeded to the nearest rope friendly tree! Future historians will be forever scratching their heads over the lack of action by the present congress and the public apathy in dealing with this "administration".

    July 4, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. TEXAN

    YES..I am proud to be an American and love my country. However, it is getting harder and harder every day to" live the American Dream".
    GOD BLESS AMERICA and help us all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 4, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. jim

    The founding fathers would have chosen Ron Paul as President this time around if they could.

    His views were much more in line with Freedom and a Republic..

    July 4, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. rufus

    funny how cnn polls have never included people I know, just some left wing bunch of nuts who work for cnn i guess

    July 4, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Texas Voter

    The question should be are we proud of America? I am!

    July 4, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. Dave, Houston, TX

    Every 4th of July, my daughter and I read the Declaration of Independence out loud. It is amazing how many of the long train of abuses and usurpations mentioned there have been repeated frequently by King George W. Bush. Our founders would be bitterly disappointed that "we the people" don't have the guts, nor the appreciation for the free republic they created, to throw that tyrant out one way or the other!

    July 4, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. Marti, Plano, TX

    Thank you, JB and Brian; yours were the most thoughtful posts on this blog.

    July 4, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  19. Raymond Duke

    No , I don't think the founding fathers would be too proud of the country today. Mainly because american politicians today have pretty well sold america down the tube for greed. They also wouldn't be to proud of the fact of how many people in america don't want to be responsible for theirselves and want a handout for nothing. We have lost a lot of our moral fiber .

    July 4, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. John Andrews

    I find it hard to believe that 87% of this country's citizens are proud to be American's, considering that less than 10% have served in the military. Put your service where your mouth is.

    As Kennedy, a combat veteran, said:

    "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you - ask what can you do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

    July 4, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. Richard, FL

    Bush would likely be the president that the forefathers are the most disgusted with. They never would have approved of his subversion of their intentions. They would be horrified at his constant efforts to destroy checks and balances, and his politicizing of the Justice Department and the military.

    Our forefathers would be sick about the Second Amendment. WIth the then-current reference point of muskets that fired one bullet every 30 seconds, they would be shocked to see that delusional people think they intended to have UZI's in everyone's hands.

    Forefathers would also be thoroughly disgusted with Rush Limbaugh. There is no way they intended for democracy to have a voting system that unpatriotic windbags can subvert. Limbaugh disgraces everything that our forefathers stood for when they set up our election process.

    July 4, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. AB

    There are 42 armed conflicts going on in the world right now and CNN spends its time asking people whether a flag pin is important. I am amazed and appalled at the media and their lack of coverage of stories that actually matter. Thanks again CNN for putting yourself above the rest with another nonsense story and poll.

    July 4, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. Raymond Duke

    T o Pannie, when you mention slaves do you realise every nationality has been slaves at one time. Do you realise that blacks where not the only slaves to exist in the world. Do you know where the white slave traders got there slaves from. They didn't go running around in the jungle and gather them up. They were already slaves to other black tribes and were sold to these white slave traders by their black brethern. As far as indians, " my grandmother was full blooded, they got conquered it is as simple as that and they need to adapt to this country and fully fit in. If not they will always be in a bad position. Whites are like everybody else in the world. They have been conquered, slaves etc. They just fit in and don't sit around whinning oh poor me my poor old grandaddy or grandma was a slave and now i will never amount to nothing.

    July 4, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  24. McCain doesnt wear flag pins

    Its interesting that on mccain.org there is a section entitled "This Week in Photos" of which McCain is wearing a flag pin in zero of them... So, who is with me in starting the backlash?

    July 4, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. jaylo

    Democrats are pretty disappointed in their party as well.

    July 4, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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