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. Amelia

    No, our founding fathers would not be happy about the country they founded. Our society has become void of any common sense, work ethic, common decency towards one another and lack the concept of right or wrong.
    There seem to be no rules or consequences for repeated bad behavior, and bad decisions. Zero accountability but many will be first in line for any kind of handout or assistance or law suit if it could be profitable. No pride in being self sufficient or seriously bettering themselves. Just the tone and content of some of these posts prove my point.

    July 4, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    If you all want to keep believing a republican leaning poll, go ahead.

    I'm very happy and most in my area are happy. Hate abounds with the republicans.

    July 4, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  3. It's History

    Superficial nonsense appropriate for CNN. If you didn't feel the laws effect in 2010 then you will in 2014. If not in 2014 then in 2017. If you don't know what I mean here then look deeper. Although I appreciate your research you need to go deeper. You can't tell a man what to believe but only show him the direction and let him decide.

    July 4, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  4. Elliott Carlin

    I know many of our secularists on here won't like it, but I'm glad to know the Declaration of Independence references God four different times--no man can take away our basic human rights. Happy 4th.

    July 4, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  5. It's History

    @ thinkagain
    Keep in mind the job losses from "large" business and below. The foundation of this country.

    July 4, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  6. Z

    Our Founding Fathers would roll over in their graves if they knew how much control the Extremist Religious Right has on our Political process in Washington. As a matter a fact I think our Founding Fathers would sweep these amoral lost souls out of Washington with a broom stick.

    July 4, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  7. kj

    No not all . I mean they wanted an All white Country .. I'm sure they are rolling over int heir graves as to legalize gay marriages .. I mean the list goes on and on

    July 4, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  8. VEW2012

    I think they would be proud. I think John Adams would be proud that we finally updated his Health Insurance Mandate to include more than just ill and disabled sailors. Thomas Jefferson would be proud that we do not have a state mandated religion...regardless of the Republican continual attempts to do that. I think Paul Revere would be proud that spying no longer takes a midnight ride, and can be easily done with PRIZM.

    July 4, 2013 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  9. Larry L


    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?
    Interesting questions. Since most of our Founding Fathers had very little interest in religion (in spite of the revised history we see from Evangelicals) I suspect they would strongly oppose the right-wing movement towards theocracy.

    July 4, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  10. Larry L

    Great list of tax facts. Thanks!

    July 4, 2013 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  11. oldpatriot

    Spin,Spin,Spin,Spin,Spin,Spin,Spin,Spin,Spin,Spin,Spin,Spin,Spin – Im dizzy there is so much spin and outright lies.

    July 4, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  12. Specialplaces

    This poll is not at all surprising...I just spoke with my family tonight about the same thing. We are all very proud of our country....horribly appalled by our government. Most people are proud to be American, but most people (nearly 90% as of late) dislike the federal government for one reason or another. 10% approval ratings for congress speaks VOLUMES that are ignored on a daily basis.

    This result is not surprising. I am proud of how America came to be, and I am proud of what the founding fathers attempted to put together. I am NOT proud of our terrible federal government, our corrupt politicians, our aggressive ignorance on a federal level, our lack of freedom (even though we are sadly probably the most free country in the world), our over-reach by the federal government to slowly-but-surely intrude in every aspect of our lives and the taking of money after money after money through double, triple and quadruple taxation of our hard-earned, PRIVATE dollars in order to distribute it as it pleases. Our federal government is a freakin' joke, and everyone knows it. BUT, I will always be proud that I am in a country where really strong and good ideas originated.

    July 4, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  13. Larry L

    Our Founders were great men – but they were just men. Our world is so different since those times it's insane to assume every word they uttered should be considered sacred forever. Many of the principles are timeless – but the specifics must be altered to adjust for an evolving civilization. Our Founders had no unique vision to understand outrageous changes in our society. The way we interpret our Constitution must adapt for women's rights, modern weapons, abortion rights, gay rights, medical research, healthcare, terrorism, world-wide communications systems, property rights, and religion. It's unreasonable to constantly refer to the Constitution and Bill of Rights for answers that could have never been imagined by our Founders. It's up to us to redefine the path for America when unique and new situations arise.

    July 4, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  14. Tom Ryan

    The founding fathers would be blown away by modern America. First of all, we landed on the moon. We built and maintain the Interstate highway system. We have the safest food supply in the history of the world. We can fly. We invented baseball. Modern America also gave the world the Internet. I think the founding fathers would like us and probably enjoy hanging out with us.

    July 4, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  15. Carl

    Ya think??? The Left who claim to love America are just using whatever the country has got left of its endowments and the efforts of the greatest generation to their advantage, without caring enough about it or future generations to preserve the things that made this country great to live in economically and free from major government intervention. And everything Obama has done is unraveling here in his second term as a socialist progressive.

    July 4, 2013 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  16. CapAmerica

    Of course the founders wouldn't be happy how we turned out, most Americans (who have brains) aren't happy with how we turned out either.

    July 4, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  17. Tim

    @ThinkAgain, first off there is no such thing as a taxes a businesses, health insurers or makers of brand name drugs. Do you think a health insurance company is going to get a tax bill for $10 million (random number) and say well, we'll just take that money out of our employee's paychecks and sell a few buildings, etc. No, that $10 million gets passed down to their customers, just like every other tax on business. Have you checked the cost of insurance just since Obamacare was passed? Have you seen the stories on the news? Obamacare in it's later stages is going to financially ruin many people, especially those who are self-employed.

    The bill was voted on with statements from representatives that they'd have to sign the bill in order to find out what was in it. If you follow the news, you know the bill is being fleshed out as they go, that's not even an argument. Ask your own member of Congress, they'll tell you the same thing!

    If the details were worked out and it was going to be such a financial wonder as you suggest, then there is no reason that a huge chunk of it would ever need to be pushed back. Why not start it early and fix the economy right now?

    Having had worked in the medical community for years, I can't wait until people see what has been brought down upon them.

    July 4, 2013 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  18. emintey

    I think the founding fathers would have a hard time comprehending modern American society because the world has changed so much. Remember also that some of the founders were proud slaveholders. Remember that George Washington led an army against moonshiners in western Pennsylvania and West Va. who didnt want to pay taxes.

    I'm not sure how the founders would respond to all the changes in the world but given that I dont think they would be ashamed of how we have dealt with it.

    July 4, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  19. Steven

    It's interesting that the very Liberal CNN singled out the Republicans as the only ones who are dissatisfied. Either you are for the USA or against it. There isn't any grey area. The founding fathers are rolling over on their graves. This is a democratic republic, not socialism

    July 4, 2013 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  20. Canukman

    Happy belated Independence Day neighbours! My wife and I just spent 3 days in your glorious Emerald City of Seattle. As usual, we found American hospitality and service to be second to none. And your country remains – arguably – the most exciting in the world. You have much to be grateful for and much to be proud of. If I was an American, I know I would fly Old Glory in my yard on July 4th.

    Stay safe, prosper and be happy.

    July 5, 2013 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  21. Valeri Bricklyn

    No separation of Church and State. and abuse of clericalism at the local and federal level. Jackson would be disgusted.

    July 5, 2013 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  22. Illinois

    The founding father's are turning over in their graves after seeing how Obama and the liberals are destroying the country they founded.

    July 5, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  23. baycommuter

    Different Founding Fathers would have different opinions. Jefferson would think the central government is too strong; Hamilton would be delighted with a powerful Fed and presidency.

    July 5, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  24. Sahari

    Protests against the NSA and all it's ramifications in 60 cities across the nation, and not a mention of them by mainstream news. If that's not a sign that 'the people' have been sold out, I don't know what is; the founders would weep.

    July 5, 2013 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  25. Jimmy Muchetti

    Those in the south that said they were the most proud, are also the ones who talk about secession all the time, so I don't believe either one of those things from that group.

    July 5, 2013 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
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