- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Founding Fathers would be proud, and possibly amazed.

On the nation’s 231st birthday, the old-fashioned patriotic instinct is alive and kicking in most Americans, while the U.S. Constitution remains much in touch with modern life and times.

Eight in 10 respondents in a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll released yesterday said they thought the United States was the “greatest country in the history of the world.”

Some were more patriotic than others: 92 percent of Republicans, compared with 72 percent of Democrats, agreed with the idea. Republicans were more fierce about their feelings: 42 percent said they loved their country the most among the choices; the figure was 19 percent among Democrats.

“Overall, however, a substantial majority concluded that members of both parties supported their country,” the survey said.

And Old Glory still rules. Eighty-six percent said they owned an American flag, and 68 percent said they had flown a flag during the past year. The poll of 900 registered voters was conducted June 26 and 27, and had a margin of error of three percentage points.

Meanwhile, the Constitution still resonates with Americans in a big way, according to a Zogby survey of more than 5,000 adults also released this week.

Nine out of 10 respondents said that despite “massive changes” that have swept the nation since the Constitution was ratified in 1788, “the guiding document of the nation is still relevant to modern life in America.” More than half, in fact, said the Constitution was “completely relevant,” while only 1 percent said it was off the mark.

Ideology had some effect, with 46 percent of liberals and 79 percent of conservatives calling the document “very relevant.” Moderates were the most disenchanted with the Constitution, with 37 percent agreeing with the sentiment.

The two-party system received tepid feedback. Two out of three respondents overall — 67 percent — said they were dissatisfied with the Democrat-Republican system, while 31 percent said they were happy with it.

“Oddly, just 32 percent of Democrats and 40 percent of Republicans said they were pleased,” the survey said. “Among those who described themselves as political independents, just 19 percent were satisfied.”

The political system may be due for an overhaul. Asked whether they thought the inclusion of more political parties would improve the system, 53 percent of the respondents agreed.

Meanwhile, the Founding Fathers’ reputation as independent thinkers seems intact.

“People believe the founding fathers would not look kindly on a laundry list of government regulations that modern Americans face every day,” the survey said.

Asked whether George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, et al. would approve of laws that imposed speed limits, 48 percent of the respondents agreed. They were less sure whether the Founding Fathers would require motorcycle riders to wear helmets — just more than one-quarter agreed with the idea. Thirty percent said the group would approve of rules requiring car passengers to wear seat belts and stay off their cell phones.

Only 9 percent speculated that the Founding Fathers would approve of banning trans fats in restaurants, while 24 percent said they would favor laws banning marijuana and other drugs. About 12 percent said they would restrict alcohol consumption.

The poll of 5,651 adults was conducted online June 19 to 21, and had a margin of error of 1.3 percentage points.

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