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. It's History

    @Think Again
    Read the law before making comments. It's all in there. I don't care what you "think". However, you may like how so many sections end in a blank page to be "filled in later" by non-elected officials with no discussion or debate (no representation). It is also the largest tax generation in American history. Read the law!!!

    July 4, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Clifford Spencer

    Our birthday is July 4, 1776!
    The Book Of Mormon was translated in 1830!
    Were our Founding Fathers Mormons?

    July 4, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    None of you have any idea, that the media is totally censored, do you? ALL of the U.S. media is totally censored by Obama.

    July 4, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Pete

    @It's history,hey bud the SCOTUS approved it as law and its represented as well..Don't like it either get insurance,pay the penalty of hit the road there's plenty of other countrys that'll take your money...But you'll get a lot less,go read up !!

    July 4, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. wcalb

    Those of you who think the founding fathers all got along along and were of a single mind are woefully uninformed. They had many competing interests and were nasty debaters. The only thing they had in common was their willingness to pledge their lives, furtunes and sacred honor for the good of the country. Can you imagine any member of the house or senate who would honestly be able to saythe same today?

    July 4, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. It's History

    They approved the individual mandate charge as a "Tax", not the law itself. This also makes it illegal per the origin clause but that's another show. Read it so you know what's in there before blindly defending it.

    July 4, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. loverpoint

    The founding fathers would probably not be proud for the same reasons, elderly white Republicans aren't happy. There's a black person in the White House. Many of the founding fathers had slaves, and women were not allowed to vote or be in control of their bodies.

    The founding fathers could not comprehend the internal combustion engine, airplanes, computers, automatic weapons.

    The founding fathers could have never conceived the USA would be as big as it is, and have a military that is bigger than any mankind has seen.

    July 4, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. It's History

    BTW, the Origination Clause basically states that the Senate cannot create taxes.

    July 4, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. Ron L

    America is slowing experiencing a downward spiral because of two elements..GREED and SELFISHNESS. The influence of BIG money on our elections is growing with each passing year. We recently had a request from 75% of Americans to tighten up something simple as background checks and it failed!! We have a tax system that allows the rich to keep large portions of their wealth while making sure the average person pays on every dollar earned. We are told that the only way our children can have a piece of the American dream is to go to college and each year it's costs go up 3 times the rate of inflation and now the government wants to charge 6.8% interest on student loans. And last but not least we have a political system that is more interested in winning the next election than doing what is best for the majority of its citizens. It is extremely depressing when you look at it objectively. There is hope, but the flame is starting to get dimmer and dimmer.....

    July 4, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Ron L

    Its History. You seemed to be obsessed with the tax mandate on the Obamacare. I have three questions...Do you have healthcare? How do you propose we get healthcare for the 35 millions Americans that don't have it? And will you give up yours until at least 25 million of those without gets some coverage? It is easy to criticize someone wanting to have something, when you already have it yourself.

    July 4, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. erin

    They'd be very happy with the overall state of our nation, BUT... they'd be completely dumfounded as to why we allow women to vote or black people to be considered more than 3/5 of a person.

    July 4, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. msmarlene

    I'm proud to be an American but it's understandable that our Founding Fathers would not feel the same. They wanted a weak central government and now we have a central government that intrudes upon all facets of our lives. We have been drifting toward socialism which saps all initiative and creativity from the citizen and has been shown never to have been successful but only makes the citizen a slave to the state.

    July 4, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. wb

    Like us? They wouldn't even understand modern society. Do you think you could go 250 years into the future and make a judgement on whether you like what you see? You would be thoroughly overwhelmed. The whole question is dumb.

    July 4, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. jrs1972

    The founding fathers would be in prison as possible terrorists. Anyone who thinks this country right now is what they wanted is taking full advantage of the new marijuana laws across the US. 27% of the US is flat out stupid to believe they wanted a police state.

    July 4, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. It's History

    @Ron L
    No obsession with the mandate, just clearing up confusion with Pete. It's about what the founding fathers fought against, taxation without representation. Read the law, it was a shell bill that is being completed by unelected representatives. They can put what they want in there with no debate.
    Don't be like congress, read the law!!!

    July 4, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. Donkey Party

    Rick McDelusional – Take off the tin-foil hat, and give yourself a time-out, you're really losing it.

    July 4, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  17. Clarke

    The founding fathers would not understand the world today, just as we wouldn't understand the world they lived in. So to even ask the question, IMO is silly.

    July 4, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. iluvpurple

    I think the disconnect can be looked at this way. From a pure society and everyday living standpoint, I think most Americans can say they are proud to be American and would second think before ever deciding to leave this country to go elsewhere (I know I would). However, I think the split comes, and possibly disappointment from the founding fathers, from how our government has changed. Our government today has become large, strong, dysfunctional, and hugely ineffective in terms of truly progressing this country to keep up with the rest of the world.

    July 4, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Peter

    Uh, no, It's History, they found the law Constitutional. It was a Constitutional challenge to Obamacare, and they found it allowable under Congress' Tax and Spend Power. Given that they are the arbitrators of what is constitutional, I'm gonna go with their opinion over yours :). (Also, I'm not Pete, I'm a different Peter.)

    July 4, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. IvotedforObama

    The founders would be laughing at the GOP, especially when they see how that party is all about destroying democracy when it doesn't get its way.

    July 4, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. Everett

    Most of those jerks had slaves........

    July 4, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  22. It's History

    Unbelievable!! Why is it so hard for you guys to just read the law! Thsee arguments are like jingling Keys away from the point and a wast of time.

    July 4, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Michael Benjamin

    Yep, we're all proud of America, but we hate our government and the policies it either supports or does not support. Congress is the least liked on an institutional basis and yet individual members are held in higher regard? The Supreme Court pulls opinions out of thin air to support the ruling handed down. Particularly troubling is the Voting Rights Act. Roberts justified striking it down based on data that 50 years old which was blatantly false. Congress updated the information in 2006 with the renewed law passing by near unanimous votes in the House and Senate. What happened to the longstanding tradition of deference to Congress? It is true Congress could change the law, but we all that is not possible in the current political climate. This was nothing more than judicial activism at its worst. And yes, we can blame Bush for this, his picks for the court have brought this about.

    July 4, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Some intellegent posts her and some crazy ones! If I remember correctly there was a lot og give and take befor the U.S. Constutition was finally written. And then it was sent to the few states to be ratified and didn't become final until 1889.
    Probably the biggest disappointment the Founding fathers would express of how one political faction when in power voted their "Special" interests into place.

    At the begining there were no political parties. Funny the Pilgrams came to the New World to get rid of Big Government, not Re-Invent it. How do you suppose that worked out? To be sure, the Government is doing things today that are purely U constutitional the latest Obama Care. Most of the things that the Federal Government has put in place have only caused the people to become placent and lazy. Letting things slide until failure is on the doorstep and then have no idea what happened.

    There is never time to do something right the first time but always time to do it over. Obama Care, now on hold for a year or so before it may be ended. Other things like Solendria come to mind. Think it over.

    July 4, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. Ted Testerson

    The founding fathers were all traitors to their country.

    July 4, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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