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. CITIZENS FOR AMERICA FIRST

    7 OUT OF 10 PRESIDENTS THAT LEAD US HERE, REPUBLICAN.

    NOT WORKING TO GOOD FOR MOST OF US. CHANGE IT.

    July 4, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Iroko Nija

    Pin or no pin,patriotism can only be tested by your commitment to ensure that America remains the greatest Nation on earth and that is why at this time when all things that would have gladened our Founding Fathers have turned flat down under the Bush adminisration,we all have to stoop and think again on what proper direction to go come the Novemeber presidential elections.No need asking your choice,because I am sure you can already guess that the man for the moment, to lead America back to its glorious days is no other than the Original Boy America Must Accept..Say it again!!! Obama

    July 4, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Mark Webb

    Probably some founding farthers would be happy to vote for an African-American; some others wouldn't.

    July 4, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. pete

    "Conservatives" glory in the wearing of a flag pin on the lapel and support the misuse and mismanagement of our military at the expense of more pressing concerns. "Liberals" question the misuse and mismanagement of our military and argue for better prioritization for dealing with more pressing concerns without the flag pin on the lapel. Question: who is the better patriot? The one with the pin who mismanages and misuses our resources or the one without the pin who at least is working toward a "more perfect union."

    July 4, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Ken

    I think that it is a joke that Obama is wearing a "Flag Pin" He is only doing because there was a stick by the American people stating that Obama is not really proud of this country.

    Obama is ONLY pandering to ALL of the American people. Obama has flip-flopped, lied to the American people and has changed his stance on bringing our troops home in 16 months. I don't care what this man says, for I for one do not believe anything that comes out of his mouth.

    July 4, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. Last honest Man

    It shows that at least 30% of those polled have their head stuck up their butt. What absolute fools walk around breathing the free air that is provided from the sacrifice of others.

    July 4, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. JB

    John Andrews-

    I understand your point regarding service to our country. It is true, very few people are serving in our mlitary. However, I would argue that "service" should be defined as ANYTHING done with the good of the country as the major effort.

    For example, I would argue that being a teacher in today's society IS service to this country. People don't become teachers for the cash.

    Community service, service to our country. Peace corp, Doctors without borders etc. . . . .

    I don't believe military service is the only way you can serve.

    We need more people that do things because it is right, not because it pays well! To me, teachers are a prime example of that thought put to action.

    And while I am preaching, the most alarming trend in this country is the lack of responsibility. No one says, My bad or my fault.

    Bartenders being held responsible for over serving. Wrong, it is the individuals responsibilty for over indulging. I pour hot coffee on myself, MY BAD.

    This litigious society is always attempting to blame someone else, and get a payday. This needs to stop!

    July 4, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Iroko Nija

    Its high time the contributions people make through this medium is regulated to ensure decency.Its unfair for JIM to make such coment as he did concerning Obama "Obama is nothing more than a slogan with no legs. He is a con artist just like my governor..." and this is allowed? Please you must ensure some restrictoions or censorship on what contributions people make here. I think Jim should apologisefor his nasty coment on Obama and pray for God's forgiveness.

    July 4, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. James, Redlands, CA

    I find it intersesting that CNN posted Helms death on the Ticker but is not allowing comments.

    I would say I wonder why, but I think we all know.

    You can't live the first 70 years of your life as an ardent bigot and expect people to give you the benefit of the doubt when you get old and feeble and close to deaths door. Just like jail house conversions to Christ.

    He did a lot to hinder the improvement and recognition of nonmajority rights and simple common dignity.

    But hey, God bless America on this 4th of July

    July 4, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Pepou

    They would be horrified by the USA PATRIOT Act and the attacks on civil rights. Guantanamo and so on ...

    July 4, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. Iroko Nija

    Its high time the contributions people make through this medium is regulated to ensure decency.Its unfair for Jim to make such coment as he did concerning Obama
    "Obama is nothing more than a slogan with no legs. He is a con artist just like my governor..."
    This should not be allowed? Please CNN must ensure some restrictoions or censorship on what contributions people make here. I think Jim should apologisefor his nasty coment on Obama and pray for God's forgiveness.

    July 4, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. Rob

    they would be shocked that we let an Idiot take away our rights . could be time for another Boston Tea Party . Government now is more worried about everything but what's good for America. Look At McBush in Mexico –pandering again , like they could even vote for him. Can we say he's another Idiot

    July 4, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. Rob

    those flag pins are made by George Bush's friends –the Chinese

    July 4, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. Enough Already!

    Math Wiz:

    Very well thought out piece.

    July 4, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. maria

    The "founding fathers" were rouges, criminals and the rejects of Englands, and that's what you have running this country now. That's the foundation of the country. The "founding fathers" , of a country already occupied by Indians , wrote "freedom for all" wanted freedom from England while enforcing slavery.
    What hypocrits, just like what we have running this country now. We the American tax payer are being sold out, not representated but over taxed same old same old.
    So wearing a flag pin has no bearing on anything it is a $1.00 pin just that. The main politians hollering patriotism have sacrificed the least - they are weathy, silver spoon in their mouths , selfish individuals - Bush, Cheney, etc, etc, etc.
    Hillary did not know how to get coffee froma coffee dispenser in a 7 Eleven; Bush nor McCain don't know the price the gas. Why should they? we pay for their gas and the people ( secret service) that pump it for them.
    I bet CNN won't print this you haven't printed anything i have writen yet, chickens.

    July 4, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Proud American

    Dissapointing and all thanks to Bush, McCain and the rest of the Republican Party. Way to go GOP!!!

    July 4, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Larry Buchas

    The founding fathers are turning in their graves watching the Bush Administration trash the Constitution.

    They would be pleased if we started another American Revolution. On the other hand, Jefferson and Adams wpuld be crying tears of joy listening to Barack Obama.

    July 4, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. mitchell hussein martin

    i think they'd vote for the black guy,who doesnt have to wear his patriotism on his chest,but,carry's it well-protected,in his heart.abraham lincoln won his first election because of overwhelming support by the younger voters of the time.i see many paralells,between our greatest leaders and barack obama.the rest of you are blind,and uneducated in history or politics.

    July 4, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. Connie

    I am a born again Christian sometimes I wear a crucifix, but wearing jewelry is not what makes me a Christian it is what is in my heart. That is what Obama has always said . I rarely see John McBush and his stooges wearing one, but I do not question if they love there country. No one has a right to question any of our hearts, only God has a right to judge. So vote for who you like, but quite the nic picking.Everyone should all so read the proper way to treat the flag with respect,I believe wearing it is not one way.
    Barack Hussein Obama 08

    Connie "Hussein"Sturgeon

    July 4, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. Tom in CA

    The only poll that matters is the one on 11/04/2008.

    Senator McCain will be hard pressed to take this poll!

    Vote Bob Barr!

    July 4, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. DJ Los Angeles

    Yes pre-emptive wars based on lies, manipulation of facts and deceiving the people are not what they had in mind. Behavior more suited for Imperial Colonialism that we fought to be free from.

    July 4, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. they would be upset

    Our founding fathers would be upset at the following:

    -today's democrats/socialists
    -today's neocons
    -the federal reserve
    -the money supply
    -banking
    -income tax and IRS
    -the media
    -violating the bill of rights and the constitution based on agenda
    -violation of civil liberties through expanded government power
    -even being involved in anything foreign related
    -130 countries and 670 bases worldwide with our troops/weapons
    -treaties with Israel and any other country...
    -NAFTA
    -freedom of religion and choice
    -lack of separation of church and state

    we are all to blame, and if they were alive today, they would already have fired the first shots and asked us to join their cause to fight for our freedoms... when are you going to wake up?

    July 4, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. Nat from Toronto

    As a Canadian observer of the US presidential race, I find it appalling that so many comments still refer to Senator Obama as a muslim and not so subtly make the argument that he is therefore unfit to be president (The logic of that argument escapes me) and unfailingly use his middle name as though to emphasize that fact. This is nothing but fear mongering and religious intolerence. To begin with, he is not a muslim and having an arabic name does not make him one. Arabic is a language not a religion. On this 4th of July, it is sad to note that America is not the land of the free or the home of the brave, at least, judging by some of the vitroilic and hateful comments that are posted on CNN.

    July 4, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. Clark

    I believe many of the Founding Fathers would be amazed that we are still here. Even Thomas Jefferson did not believe the country would make it 50 years (although he died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence).

    I think they would be pleased that it is still a work in progress, and disappointed that disent and change are now considered unpatriotic, considering they were some of the ultimate revolutionaries of their time.

    They would also be bewildered that Afican-Americans, Native Americans, and women now have basic human rights...which they were ALL absolutely against. They all believed that only white men who owned real estate should have any rights. George Washington may have written about the perils of slavery, but he holds the distinction of owning more slaves (600+) than any American in history! Thomas Jefferson's great writings on human rights did not extend at all any slaves, which he considered personal property for labor and his sexual fantasies. Alexander Hamilton was the richest man in the western hemisphere and believed only in money and supported the revolution because he did not want to pay taxes to anyone but himself. All of them were the richest men of their time, and designed a system to keep themselves rich.

    I think they would be amazed that we take the best ideas of each of them, work at discarding the worst, and continue to constantly perfect this great experiment...because of them, and in spite of them. Much of their rhetoric was hypocritical and self-serving, but over the centuries the underlying values have come to the surface. I believe that this country's great virtue is that it is self-correcting. It is far from perfect still, but let's all hope that it continues to evolve and change all the time...and that all American's try to keep an open mind and an open heart.

    July 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  25. Logan

    Love my country, hate my government.

    July 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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