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Pew Poll Shows Dems Less Patriotic


Nearly every American agrees with the statement "I am very patriotic," but there is a large and growing division in the intensity with which Republicans and Democrats express this sentiment. Currently, 71% of Republicans and just 48% 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%. By comparison, Democratic opinion on this value has changed little in recent years. Since 1999, about half of Democrats have said they completely agree with the statement "I am very patriotic." The events of the past two years have had little impact on those attitudes.

By contrast, many more independents strongly agree with that statement than did so four years ago (54% completely agree now, 40% in 1999). But the views of independents still are much closer to those of Democrats than Republicans: There is a six-point gap in patriotic intensity between independents and Democrats (54% vs. 48%), and a 17-point gap between Republicans and independents (71% of Republicans vs. 54% of independents).

The survey was conducted in 2004. I find it inconceivable that Democrats have become more enthusiastic about upholding and defending the Constitution during Bush’s second term. I could accept Republicans suffering diminished patriotism, but the successful surge in Iraq would be a bolster.

Also note that self-labeled Independents are essentially Democrats who prefer to wear white instead of blue jerseys.

The survey also inquired about the patriotism of racial categories:

The vast majority of African Americans express patriotic sentiments, though there long have been differences between blacks and whites on this issue. During the 1990s, about three-quarters of blacks said they agree with the statement "I am very patriotic," compared with about 90% of whites.

Following the Sept. 11 attacks, there was a sharp rise in the percentage of African Americans expressing patriotism. In 2002, fully of 88% of African Americans agreed with the statement "I am very patriotic," up from 75% in 1999; 45% completely agreed, compared with 32% three years earlier. Whites were still somewhat more likely than blacks to identify themselves as very patriotic, with 94% in agreement and 57% completely agreeing, but the gap between the races was narrower it had been in more than a decade.

But in the current survey the attitudes of blacks and whites toward patriotism once again diverge. There has been a 10-point decline the percentage of blacks who identify themselves as very patriotic (from 88% to 78%), while the percentage in complete agreement has dropped from 45% to 38%. By comparison, white sentiments have changed very little over the past year; 93% say they are very patriotic while 59% completely agree.

Even among Democrats, there are clear differences among whites and blacks in intensity of patriotic feelings. Roughly half of white Democrats (52%) completely agree that they are very patriotic, little changed from past years. That compares with about four-in-ten black Democrats (38%) who express strong patriotism.

The black American patriot is a minority, indeed.

H/T: Engram