By Mike Lillis
Most Americans are proud to be so, according to a new poll.
Conducted by Gallup, the survey found that 57 percent of respondents consider themselves "extremely proud" to be United States citizens, while another 28 percent say they are "very proud."
By contrast, only 3 percent of respondents indicated they are "only a little proud" to be American, and a mere 1 percent say they are "not at all proud."
The figures indicate that – despite the constant squabbling on Capitol Hill and Congress's historically low approval ratings – an overwhelming percentage of Americans haven't let Washington's struggles disturb their pride in being a part of the world's longest-running democracy.
Indeed, the 85 percent figure – a combination of the "extremely proud" and "very proud" groups – has been fairly consistent for more than a decade. The number reached a peak of 92 percent in 2002, and dropped to a nadir of 81 percent in 2007, but has remained largely steady since Gallup first posed the question in 2001.
That same optimism hasn't followed another question Gallup has posed over the years related to the state of national affairs. When asked how the signers of the Declaration of Independence would feel about "the way the United States has turned out," 71 percent said the Founding Fathers would be "disappointed," while only 27 percent thought they'd be "pleased."
Those numbers mark a dramatic change from 12 years ago, when 54 percent said the signers would be pleased and 42 percent guessed they'd be disappointed.
Political affiliation seems to have been a major factor surrounding that question this year, with 86 percent of Republicans indicating the Founders would be disappointed in the country today, while 56 percent of Democrats felt the same way.
Independents fell in between, with 73 percent feeling the Declaration signers would be disheartened by the current state of affairs.
The poll was conducted from June 1-4.