Americans may just be coming off their Independence Day celebrations, but a newly-released Gallup poll indicates that Americans’ pride in their country has never been more scarce. In fact, it’s at the lowest level since Gallup started polling the question in 2001. While American pride has been in gradual decline for the last few years, these numbers were the first time that those “extremely proud” to be an American fell below the majority at forty-seven percent.
The poll, conducted over the first two weeks of June, does show that most Americans take at least some level of pride in their country, with only three percent saying they were not proud at all. However the combined total of those who identify as “extremely proud” or “very proud” was at seventy-two percent: another all-time low.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, extreme pride has dropped the most in Democrats at only thirty two percent, down eleven points from the 2017 poll. Meanwhile, extreme pride in Republicans has risen by two points in the same time, at seventy four percent.
Fewer than half of U.S. adults are extremely proud to be Americans, which is the lowest level in Gallup's 17 year trend… https://t.co/1RAnjjjUkr
— GallupNews (@GallupNews) July 4, 2018
The poll indicates a surge of unease and dread at what America and patriotism have come to connote over the last few years, and it’s not difficult to discern why. Since last Independence Day alone, Americans have seen white supremacists and neo-Nazis march proudly through the streets, increasing evidence that members of a political campaign had correspondence with foreign powers for the purpose of winning an election and children separated from their parents seeking asylum, in addition to typical American occurrences like mass shootings.
In a climate inundated by horrifying developments, Americans weren’t surprised at Gallup’s results.
Half the country makes 30k or less
Over 30 million people don't have healthcare
Half the country can't afford a $1000 emergency
Were currently bombing 8 countries… pic.twitter.com/D6LrB9ow5e
— The Unpopular Populist (@LeftPopulist) July 4, 2018
Poll claiming that Dems are not proud to be Americans. As a vet, I am Proud to be American. I am not proud of what America is becoming or the fact #TrumpTreason won the Presidency. Big difference.
— Now! Solar (@NOW1SOLAR) July 5, 2018
What is there to be proud of? A nation founded on slavery? Income and socioeconomic inequality? Colonialism? Perpetual war? Capitalism relying upon modern slavery? Racism? A false sense of entitlement? The stupidest world leader? Highest obesity rates?
Why be proud?
— Stand For Something Even If You're Sitting Down (@StaybulJeenyuss) July 3, 2018
However, many were quick to misinterpret the information.
Some Republicans began to use the data to insinuate that Democrats are less loyal to America.
Political analyst Brit Hume of Fox News said outright that Democrats don’t even love the country in a now-deleted tweet.
Brit Hume later deleted his Democrats "sure don't love" America tweet. But here's a screenshot: pic.twitter.com/39ZWIJezYs
— David Beard (@dabeard) July 5, 2018
He later acknowledged the error:
I deleted an earlier tweet that said Democrats don’t love America. It was based on a Gallup poll that found only a minority of Dems now very proud of this country. A number of people said they think that’s not a fair conclusion from the poll. I agree and thus the deletion.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) July 5, 2018
Posts like Hume’s led to conversations about the difference between loving one’s country and being proud of it. Many attributed their lack of pride to the current administration.
Saying you’re not proud of this country, and you don’t love this country are two different things. I love this country very much, but right now I am not very proud of what she stands for.
— Amy (@amyla51) July 5, 2018
WHOA Bret – you’re comparing apples & oranges. I’m a Democrat & I love this country, BUT I am NOT proud of this country right now. Maybe once the damage Trump is doing is being undone, I’ll be proud of America again — not before.
— Anne Coburn (@tucsonrose1) July 5, 2018
I am a Democrat. I love this country, but I do NOT like the direction this administration is leading it. I am NOT proud of how we are currently treating immigrants.
— Anita Feller (@arfeller) July 5, 2018
The United States has never been a perfect country, but morale, for many, is lower than ever. The trend has existed since before Trump’s campaign yet has accelerated since his inauguration. It will take a complete reversal for many to restore their pride, but most opinions indicate that their love for this country–and their willingness to improve it–is unwavering.