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. James

    Wow, what a remarkably empty question. "Would the founding fathers be happy".. how about asking why?

    Did you know we are in the midst of a massive campaign to redefine the founding fathers, and what they stood for?

    What is "separation of church and state"? Is this religious individualism good for religious freedom? Or were the founding fathers in favor of religious collectivism instead, which is the new position now being claimed?

    July 4, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. JASC92

    well of course they would be disappointed, a black president, non-whites having equal rights, government helping the poor, having the most powerful standing army in history, etc.

    July 4, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Bayousara

    ""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."

    THIS statement is someone's opinion, not based in fact! Who is the individual who made this opinion? I think you are full of baloney!

    July 4, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP garbage of America are all traitors and obamacare will service in spite of the GOP bs and lies , they will be out of power after 2014 midterms anyway and that's what all of us are waiting for. Goodby GOP garbage of America !!!!!!!

    July 4, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Name Uche Agonsi

    I am very happy for Americans, & wish them great & happy anniversary. They deserve to be proud of the great country they have made America & I believe strongly their country's Founding Fathers should be very proud of the greatness the country has achieved. I have however few words to add for the societal good.Firstly, is not by error US evolved parties to compete for rulership of the country. So no party has right to instal hate on the other simply because of ideological differences.......like calling a party socialist /communist, etc. Secondly, it is immoral for a party to stop completely the well-intentioned programs of the ruling party just to give it a bad name.... This might derail the Democracy. So also is witch-hunting with baseless reasons. Then comes the negative influence of money & the growing tricks by the rich Americans to stop payment taxes by lobbyist arrangements in politics & offshore tax havens while insisting that the poor carry all social/economic burdens. Thanks beloved Americans & again happy anniversary.

    July 4, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. frdms2thelft

    nationalism is a disease, maybe they will find a cure for it someday, just like a cure for worshipers of god

    July 4, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. JM

    In short – they would be appalled. This was not their intention: neither morally, nor legislatively, nor what's at their core: the family. This is not, " One nation under God," as our enemies plainly see. This is a shoot growing directly from the humanistic stump called Greece & will meet with such an end. Those "true gods" sit back & know this is the end.

    July 4, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Theseus

    Let's see, what are some of the things the founding fathers stood for? A well regulated militia. Limited government intervention. No centralized banking. Freedom of and FROM religion. Government controlled by the commonwealth. A prosperous middle class. This list goes on, but what's the point? They would be worried for us, with good reason.

    July 4, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. Paul

    The Founding Fathers are turning over in their graves and hurling over what this nation has turned into,,, all courtesy of the limp wristed Liberals. Read history about what happened to Rome with the Liberals took over and compare it to where we are headed. The USA is TOAST !

    July 4, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Doug

    There is certainly more in the Declaration of Independence that just God.. I think our founding fathers would be proud to know that we have not allowed the Christian right to bully us into believing there is only one religion in this country...
    I think our founding fathers would be proud to know that we understood the word all to mean "excluding none "...
    This is why our Supreme court time and again has chosen to give freedom to blacks, women's voting rights and now gay marriage.. Yes, our founding fathers paved the way and when they included the word all they did so deliberately !

    July 4, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    @It's History: "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!!!"

    Cite the pages that are blank to be "filled in later."

    For 98% of Americans the percentage of income paid in taxes won't change much if at all; in fact, Obamacare provides the greatest middle class tax cut in healthcare in history (for those under 400% of the poverty line and small businesses specifically).

    These are the taxes that most likely WON'T affect 98% of Americans:
    • 2.3% Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers
    • 10% Tax on Indoor Tanning Services
    • Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike
    • Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals which fail to comply with the requirements of ObamaCare
    • Tax on Brand Name Drugs
    • Tax on Health Insurers
    • $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives
    • Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 (not a tax)
    • Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (repealed)
    • Codification of the "economic substance doctrine" (not a tax)
    • Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D
    • Employer Mandate on business with over 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance. $2000 per employee $3000 if employee uses tax credits to buy insurance on the exchange.
    • Medicare Tax on Investment Income 3.8% over $200k/$250k
    • Medicare Part A Tax increase of .9% over $200k/$250k

    If you opt out of having insurance, you will be assessed a penalty, which will be on the IRS books as being owed. However, the IRS can NOT garnish your wages, assign a lien, etc., to collect the penalty. Insurers will have to provide rebates to consumers if they spend less than 80 to 85% of premium dollars on medical care.

    July 4, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. James

    All this stupid rhetoric from those both on the far Left and far Right. You people are the cancer of this great nation by constantly setting one side against the other.

    IMO, what the Founding Fathers would be most disappointed in, is the workings of Government itself. No longer does it exist to serve the betterment of the nation and its people as a whole. It only serves to push partisan agendas, and for candidates and parties to get themselves funded and re-elected. Dem or Repub, it doesn't matter...whichever party is in the opposition will do everything it can to cause the failure of the other, instead of working together for the country as a whole. Disgusting.

    July 4, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. ruth

    There has never been a time I was not proud to be an American but I think our founding fathers are rolling in their graves about America today.I unlike Michelle Obama who says when her husband was elected that that was the first time she was proud of America,I feel sorry for her.I had 4 uncles who served in every branch of the service in World War 2 and growing up we were taught to be proud of our America,we learned the Pledge of Allegiance and said it everyday before school started, we all know the Star Spangled Banner,I wonder if she even knows the words. The ignorance of Americans today amaze me,they know nothing of our history and the struggle our founding Fathers went through.George Washington was the greatest of all Presidents and no one can come close no matter how hard they try.

    July 4, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. bobc4d

    No they would not be pleased. Slaves having the right to vote and as well as women. GASP, they would be appalled. yes some of the founding fathers had slaves.

    July 4, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  15. Jerry Okamura

    If the measure of a countries success is dependent on the amount of freedom, and liberty the people have today, vs. what the people had in the first 100 years of this nations birth, would the Founding Father's be happy with what they created? If the people are better off being less reliant on government, would the people themselves think we are far better off today, then the people who proceeded us?

    July 4, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  16. mike

    This question is idiocy at it's grandest. The Founders embraced change, hell they were engaging in some of the biggest change the Western mind had seen in centuries. Monolithic and statist thought was contradictory to what men like Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams believed in.

    July 4, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. Nick

    Considering that our Most of our Founding Fathers owned slaves and thought nothing of it, I don't much care what their opinion of us would be.

    July 4, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  18. jamessavik

    The founding fathers wouldn't know us.

    July 4, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. albie

    Franklin and Jefferson would absolutely hate the religious right

    July 4, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. zapdbf11

    That is a shallow poll , Wonderment i think. After all they themselves were doubtful of our success. The Constitution states the value of a black man so i think they would be proud that we evolved beyond this. Proud that we are a world power. Worried over the scope and complexity of our government. And i think disappointed in the two party system. They warned about this because they saw what it did to England.

    July 4, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. Josh

    I think the Founding Fathers would be surprised in the direction the USA has taken, but that doesn't mean they would disapprove. I doubt they ever envisioned the their Navy would become more powerful than that of Britain, France, Germany, and Portugal COMBINED.

    July 4, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  22. Seyedibar

    Strip clubs. Roller coasters. Fashion boutiques and alcohol every mile. Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin would have loved today's society. This is the paradise they envisioned, and quite a bit freer than that.

    July 4, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. Woman In California

    With some of the damage the Founding Fathers did and projected on to this country, I have never really cared how they would feel nor do I care about the losers who can't enjoy life without the ghost of Reagan leading them.

    Happy Fourth of July to everyone.

    July 4, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  24. Jim Radburn

    The Westboro Baptist Church is just a radical offshoot of the right wing cracked teanuts and the rest of the Jesus freaks that want to impose their biblical fairy tale laws on everyone.. They are the Taliban arm of the Christian church.
    These pathetic right wing nuts must never be allowed to get control of the presidency or congress again.

    The teanuts promised to create jobs if they were elected. The first two bills they tried to pass were to ban abortion and to make biblical fairy tale Creationism taught as a true science in all schools. That is why the House of Representatives has a 10% approval rating-the worst in history.

    July 4, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  25. truth

    I think the founding fathers would spend their time on gay marriage and gun laws. 2 issues that matter so much to the strength of our nation. Washington would have stood for blind transgender rights with fervor. He would asked others to get out of his way so he could implement government healthcare. .. we are living in a nightmare.

    July 4, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
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