- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 9, 2003

The Bush administration has boosted the morale of the Republican Party in no uncertain terms.

Republicans are more patriotic, more religious and more content these days than their Democratic counterparts, according to a new survey of american political values released by the Pew Research Center on Nov. 5.

The poll of 4,000 adults taken from July 14 through Aug. 5 found that nine out of 10 respondents overall described themselves as “very patriotic.”

But the survey detected a “patriotism gap” between the parties.

“There is a large and growing division in the intensity with which Republicans and Democrats express this sentiment,” the survey noted. “Currently, 71 percent of Republicans and just 48 percent of Democrats say they completely agree with that statement.”

The percentage of Republicans “strongly voicing feelings of patriotism has risen sharply in the past year, from 63 to 71 percent,” the survey stated. “By comparison, Democratic opinion on this value has changed very little in recent years.”

The survey also found that religion and ideology are becoming increasingly connected: 78 percent of Republicans affirmed “the importance of prayer, belief in Judgment Day and a strong belief in God.”

The figure stood at 71 percent for Democrats.

“Religious commitment has increased substantially among self-identified conservatives,” the survey also noted.

In that group, 81 percent affirmed their belief in prayer, Judgment Day and God.

“Liberals, on the other hand, have become somewhat less religiously oriented. Just over half of self-identified liberals (54 percent) agree with all three of the religious statements, down from 59 percent 15 years ago.”

Democrats also are less confident in the nation and the future.

The poll, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points, found that seven out of 10 Republicans agree with the statement, “I don’t believe there are any real limits to growth in this country today,” an opinion shared by only 51 percent of the Democrats.

A third of the Democratic respondents said success was beyond an individual’s control, while 37 percent responded that “hard work” offered little guarantee of success.

Among Republicans, those numbers stood at 20 percent and 19 percent in the survey.

Republicans also are “more comfortable with government,” with 69 percent saying they felt the government was run “for the benefit of the people.” Among Democrats, 44 percent agreed with that idea, down 12 points since 1997, when President Clinton was in office.

Will these attitudes come into play come election time? Most likely.

The survey also found that 86 percent of Republicans believe voting gives them a “say in government.” In 1994, only 68 percent felt that way. Among Democrats, 71 percent agreed that voting gave them power, down from 76 percent four years ago.

The complete survey, “The 2004 Political Landscape,” can be viewed at the Pew Web site https://people-press.org

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