- The Washington Times - Monday, July 3, 2006

Three cheers for the red, white and blue.

Pride in America prevails across the country, according to a spate of public opinion polls that reveal old-fashioned patriotism remains in the heart of the nation.

“Majority still extremely proud to be an American,” heralds a Gallup poll released yesterday that asked respondents to quantify their feelings. Overall, 92 percent said they were proud to be Americans, with 57 percent describing themselves as “extremely proud.”

Some were prouder than others, though. Three-quarters of Republican respondents were in the extreme category, along with 71 percent of conservatives and 66 percent of Southerners. The figure stood at 40 percent among liberals, 47 percent among Democrats and 49 percent among those who had postgraduate education.

The survey of 1,002 adults was conducted June 9 to 11 and had a margin of error of three percentage points.

Yankee pride resonated on a global scale as well. The United States ranked first in a patriotism survey of 34 countries, said a University of Chicago study that gauged the feelings of more than 28,000 adults throughout Europe and Asia toward their homeland’s politics, military might, history and other factors.

“While America’s position as the remaining superpower and world’s largest economy clearly plays an important role in this top ranking, an element of idealism also spurs pride in the U.S.,” the study noted. “Unlike most nation-states, which were built up around a primordial tribe, the U.S. is based on a set of shared ideals. This allows American pride to be not only particularistic, but also universal.”

Neither gas prices, the Dixie Chicks’ cynicism nor uneasiness over terrorism has taken a toll on July Fourth, apparently: 87 percent of us plan to celebrate, according to a survey of 7,400 adults released June 22 by the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Nine out of 10 of us — up from 77 percent last year — will head to a community celebration or watch fireworks, the survey found. And Old Glory rules: 112 million of us own an American flag, while 87 million own patriotically themed hats, shirts and other items. The NRF poll of 7,479 consumers was taken June 7 to 14 and has a margin of error of one percentage point.

A Fox News survey of 900 voters, meanwhile, found that 57 percent said the nation is more patriotic than it was five years ago. Given the choice, 44 percent said they would rather spend Independence Day with President Bush than Al Gore, the choice of 35 percent, though 19 percent opted for “neither.” Among Republicans, 83 percent chose Mr. Bush and 4 percent Mr. Gore; 11 percent said neither. Among Democrats, 66 chose Mr. Gore, 13 percent Mr. Bush and 19 percent neither. The Fox poll of 900 registered voters was taken last Tuesday and Wednesday, and it had a margin of error of three percentage points.

American patriotism is not necessarily a seasonal occurrence. A Purdue University survey of 1,500 adults conducted from August to January found that 97 percent were proud to be Americans, 96 percent said being an American is an important part of who they are, and 92 percent said they consider themselves “an American first and foremost.”

In other countries, pride of identification is usually in the 80 percent range, study author and sociologist Jeremy Straughn told the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star on Sunday, adding, “American identity is almost like a religion.”

In addition, more than 90 percent said that speaking and writing English well and a willingness to pledge allegiance to the flag are important in defining someone as truly American.

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