A new poll found that 71 percent of Americans worry the U.S. is “losing its national identity,” with just 3 in 10 believing that the United States’ identity is secure, according to a new report from AP-NORC.
The natural next question, of course, is what people think of when they’re asked about the nation’s identity. According to the report, the most cited components are “the country’s fair judicial system and rule of law, individual freedoms and liberties as defined by the Constitution, and the ability of people to get good jobs and achieve the American dream are central to that identity.”
But while 88 percent said that a fair judicial system and rule of law are extremely or very important to the U.S. national identity — and 84 percent said the same about individual liberties and constitutional freedoms — just 40 percent agreed when it came to “a culture grounded in Christian religious beliefs.”
Additionally, just 33 percent said that “a culture established by the country’s early European immigrants” is critical to U.S. national identity, according to a recent poll conducted by AP-NORC.
Not surprisingly, though, Democrats and Republicans aren’t necessarily in agreement about which elements and attributes are most essential to American identity, with the two camps holding starkly different views.
“Judicial fairness, liberty and freedom granted by the Constitution, the ability to achieve the American dream, and the country’s government are seen as key to American identity in high numbers, regardless of party identification,” the report reads.
The text continues, “But Democrats are more likely than Republicans to consider the nation’s diversity and the ability of people to immigrate to the United States as important, while Republicans are more inclined to cite the importance of the use of English and sharing a culture, preferably based on Christian beliefs and European customs.”
There are also differences when it comes to assessing what might be causing American identity to slip away, with political polarization, the nation’s political leaders and illegal immigration topping the list of concerns.
When asked to rate a variety of factors on how fervently respondents believed they threaten the “American way of life,” 87 percent said political polarization at least poses a moderate threat, with 81 percent saying the same of political leaders and 72 percent agreeing that illegal immigration at least serves as a moderate threat to the American way.
Interestingly, just 38 percent said the same about legal immigration, showing that Americans see a clear separation between people being in the U.S. illegally versus legally. You can read the complete results of the AP-NORC study here.
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