Poll: Most love America, but don't think founders would feel the same
July 4th, 2013
11:15 AM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Most love America, but don't think founders would feel the same

(CNN) - With signs of patriotism abounding for the Fourth of July, a new survey indicates seven in 10 Americans think the Founding Fathers would be disappointed by the way the United States has turned out, 237 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

But that doesn't mean Americans themselves are displeased. The same poll, released Thursday by Gallup, shows the number who say they're very or extremely proud to be American remains steady at 85%.

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According to the poll, 57% of adult Americans are "extremely proud" and 28% are "very proud." In addition, 10% say they are "moderately proud," with 3% saying they are "only a little proud" and a mere 1% saying they are "not at all proud."

The survey's results vary little from previous years, which have hovered between 80% and 85% since 2005 for those who are very/extremely proud. In the few years after 9/11, that number came closer to 90%-92%.

Americans living in the South are slightly more likely than those in the East and West to say they are proud, Gallup notes. Breaking it down by ideology, conservatives and Republicans are also a little bit more likely to express a sense of pride than Americans on the other side of the political spectrum.

Despite the high level of patriotism, 71% of Americans think the signers of the Declaration of Independence wouldn't be pleased with the nation today. That number has steadily risen since 2001, when the number stood at 42%.

On the contrary, 27% in this year's poll say the Founding Fathers would appreciate how the country now fares, down from 54% in 2001.

Older Americans, those in the Midwest, conservatives and Republicans are the least likely to say the signers would be pleased, according to Gallup.

"This indicates that Republicans' and conservatives' growing disenchantment with a Democratic president could be one of the underlying factors in the decline in the percentage of Americans who say the signers would be pleased," stated a release with the Gallup poll.

For the survey, Gallup questioned 1,529 adults by telephone from June 1-4 and 2,048 adults from June 20-24. The poll's sampling error is plus or minute three percentage points.

Filed under: July 4 • Polls
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    I am proud–so I wore my patriotic shirt I bought ten years ago. God bless our beautiful nation on earth, the USA. People that are not proud are republicans.

    July 4, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Vakerie Emerson

    i am ashamed to even admit on line when meeting others from other countries; to say I am an American. our country has lost the pride in all it does some place along the time line of life. there is no pride in work, or the way we teach our countrys children, infact our education system suffers in comparison to other countries, no pride in the way we help our poor, our sick and our elderly..Our country would be a major dissapointment to our founding fathers,,our Gov is so corupt, the fathers would shake their heads in shame and anger...I dont feel we shall ever find our way back to being a proud Nation. Our Gov has sold us out for the almighty doller..but the joke is on them, our doller has shrunk, in the eyes of the world. we are the new joke of the world, the other countries are counting the days till we do a total collaps..and they can step in and take control. heck china already owns most of our country.. Proud? what is there to be Proud of these days?

    July 4, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. Ramsey

    The founding fathers would be heated ifmthey got a paystub and saw how much we get taxed!

    July 4, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. mirage

    It is no longer "elected" officials that run our country, it is big business. Our forefathers would be rolling over in their graves to see what freedoms we have willfully given up for the exchange of "safety"

    July 4, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. Belseth

    I was proud of the country I grew up in back in the 60s. Today that country tortures and systematically denies Constitutional rights. The Founding Fathers would be horrified that their sacrifices would be so casually wasted. Anytime a government says something is for our own good assume they are lying. The very fact they have to justify actions should send up red flags!

    July 4, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. rs

    I don't know, a fascinating question because it calls out the changes in America- and the passage of time. Personally, I think the founding fathers would be amazed at what modern America is today. Their world was so much simpler, and the big issues for them revolved more about the day-to-day- almost survival really. America was geographically separated from the then modern world. There was little urgency to foreign affairs, and politics was very local. I think the founders would be surprised that their messages and philosophies are still relevant given the sea-change that 200 years of technology. They had no highways, virtually no manufacturing, very little science, primitive medicine, and uniformity of purpose we struggle to find. They would be pleased that we wrestled with the scourge of Slavery, and might be amazed to see we still struggle with the balance of separated government, and issues of state vs. federal; power. They would likely appreciate the extensions we have granted for civil rights and voting.
    For our part we may wish for their times' simplicity and seek to "take America back" there. That ship though has long sailed.
    The past is funny, you cannot pick and choose that which you'd keep and that you would replace. American can no more go back to 1950, than to 1782. I think the founding fathers would recognize that and appreciate where we have been, and where we are going as a nation.
    Happy Fourth everyone.

    July 4, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. us_1776

    The Founders sought to free us from the yoke of the rich and powerful who had enslaved the colonies and were stealing all the wealth. How disappointed they would be to see that the entire govt has been bribed by the ultra-wealthy.

    July 4, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. Radmoderate

    To say that Republicans are not proud is quite obstinate, and shows that the article wasn't read thoroughly. In case it was over looked, "conservatives and republicans are also a little bit more likely to express a sense of pride than Americans on the other side of the political spectrum." But even then, 99% of all Americans polled expressed some level of pride. Democrats and Republicans both have extremely proud members and members who are not proud, but that is not the point of this article.This article publicizes the fact that many Americans believe the Founding Fathers would disappointed in the state of America today, despite being a proud American. I am one of them. The Founding Fathers purposefully did not install political parties in fear that with such parties, politics would turn from serving the best interests of the people, to a competition of who can win the most regardless of its effect on the countries. The lost art of compromise between the two extreme parties in addition with statements such as, "People that are not proud are Republicans." is evidence of the moral corruption of politics. If the Founding Fathers were here today, I believe they would be saddened to see what they feared of political parties realized.

    July 4, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. mark

    I think they would be very disappointed that "no taxation without representation" has devolved into a state where we get to elect the people who get to take money and legislate based on who pays the most. Makes me sick what we've become when it comes to how governance works.

    July 4, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. mark

    In truth we should change our colors from red, white and blue to green and sliver, the color of money.

    July 4, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. Former GOP

    ...To RAMSEY ..........Ben Franklin said...."Those that have gained the very most from our system of government, are the ones that must support that government the very most..............

    July 4, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Spgfld Tom

    Our great nation has been high jacked by corrupt bureaucrats in a government gone mad with power and "political correctness". Maybe those Egyptian people have the right idea, taking their government back.

    July 4, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. I AM

    People decree the abolishment of constitutional rights, the eroding into out personal freedoms. But, we , in this great country, do have recourse. Unlike other countries we do have the right to address our government directly , either through petition, or more effective, the ballot box. So rather than cry and moan about how devilish the government has become, we have options. So the responsibility of the people is to exercise those rights and let their voice be heard and let the government know you want change through the ballot box. So, yes , we have a great country , founded on the peoples choices. The citizens just need to exercise the freedoms our country has fought so hard to maintain.

    July 4, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. mark

    Spgfld – It isn't just bureaucrats. It's big corporations who've hijacked it. We really don't have representative government. We elect those who get to milk the cash cow

    July 4, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    I cannot celebrate Independence, while a dictator resides in the WH.

    July 4, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. Zach

    Does America still have alot of work to do to make it a better country? Yes
    Does everything America does make me proud to be an American? No
    Does the fact that our country is one of the single greatest engines for change and betterment of this planet still make me proud to be an American? Damn right it does.

    America is the country that took the best of the old world and turned it into the model for every other country out there that wants to progress. We may not have the best of everything, heck we may not even be #1 in anything good anymore, but we have more potential for good than any other country on the planet.

    The spark lies in the USA.

    July 4, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. rs

    The founding fathers would be heated ifmthey got a paystub and saw how much we get taxed!
    You may be right. But, then, look at how little government did, or needed to run on back then. They had no concept of national highways, or public transportation systems (that benefit millions and millions of Americans), they didn't need airports (virtually all publicly funded), million-man armies, or 24 $billion aircraft, public national parks and monuments. Yes our taxes may be higher- but look at what they do- public education, utilities, programs for the benefit of ALL Americans the Founders could only dream of- a longevity of health and life still pretty unique in the modern world. Our lives are so much different (and better, I'd argue) than theirs- time, technology, scientific advancement made that all possible- and the government responded and made it available to all.

    July 4, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. rs

    Rick McDaniel
    I cannot celebrate Independence, while a dictator resides in the WH.
    Oh, Rick, that just sounds like sour grapes or paranoid delusion, and frankly you know better than to say stuff that crazy.

    July 4, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. saywhat

    Happy 4th of July everyone & God Bless America.
    Its indeed time to ponder where do we stand now and the policies that pushed us to the brink financially, fiscally, getting this great nation to lose its prestige, credibility and moral clout world wide. 9/11, Iraq,Afghanistan the futility of the way 'war on terror' has been prosecuted, legacy of corruption & torture. Lies, half truths, propaganda that was forced down our throats. Now Syria, drones, NSA plaguing us. need to take a pause and think.

    July 4, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Ray E. (Georgia)

    I have never taken my country for granted. I assume today some don't realise what we have. Probably there is not enough teaching U.S. History. No doubt the country has slipped some with all the Big Liberal Programs put in place all with the best intentions. People have asked for it. They may find they still have to do most of themselves. But they can still do it, nothing is holding them back but themselves.

    July 4, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. bdby

    If our founding fathers were alive today they would be truly disappointed with what they see. As it is they must be turning over in their graves right now to say the least.

    July 4, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. saywhat

    It took a great deal of endeavor for this nation to achieve the 'Greatest nation On Earth' status by loyally sticking to the spirit of Americanism and values that were the foundation of this edifice.
    Those values have been eroded and spirit of Americanism eludes us today. Divisions, hate, intolerance, fear & paranoia is what our politicos have been playing upon to further their own agenda. A Congress, the most unproductive and pitiful in our history is failing the people its supposed to serve.
    need to take a pause & think.

    July 4, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. Robert Lemasters

    The question about would the founding fathers like us is spot on...the answer in my opinion would be no. They sacrificed everything to bring about our Republic based on their strong beliefs...some of the things...foreign entanglements, anti Christian attitudes, homosexual marriage or toleration, career politicians, foolish not needed wars, the unchecked Mexican invasion and all illegal immigration, non enforcement or selective enforcement of our laws, the devaluation of citizenship, foreign and corporate control of our government, consumerism over dutiful citizenship and civic responsibility, illegal drug culture, off-shoring industries and jobs, all of the free trade deals that favor foreign governments, the largest thefts of wealth in world history-Milken's Junk Bond, Savings and Loan and now the on-going Sub-prime Mortgages conspiracies and national looting, the trade deficits, national debt...they would, however ;envy us our medical progress, technical advancements...but our foolishness, incompetence, ignorance in time of fantastic education opportunities, wastefulness and selfishness would cause them disbelief and shame...just the lunacy and vileness of homosexual marriage...damn.

    July 4, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. saywhat

    The past decade has been most harmful to American interests and geopolitical positioning because of the policies initiated by those in power beginning of the decade. Unfortunately some of those policies especially in foreign affairs are still being pursued.
    Time to take a pause & think.

    July 4, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. Jed

    I'm not proud to be an American. Nor am I ashamed. It's just part of what I am. I'm sharing this American experience with 313 million other people, and I hope we can pull together to serve our common interests and behave responsibly as fellow citizens of planet Earth. Yes, this country has serious problems and I wish I could do something to fix them. But the prospects of me changing the course of history are not very good. Instead, I just do what I can to leave a trail of cheer and good will behind me wherever I go, wherever I interact with other people. What I find particularly distasteful is the culture of anger. It seems like whichever side of the political spectrum you're on, you're being told that if you are not absolutely outraged about something, then there's something wrong with you. We have problems to solve, and experience has shown that angry people have very poor problem solving skills. Until we get the anger under control, we're never going to make any headway in improving the net quality of life for all of humanity.

    July 4, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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