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Posted by on Nov 29, 2008 in Society | 9 comments

America. Land of the ???

A recent survey of Americans conducted by Rasmussen seems to indicate that the popularity of the Pledge of Allegiance (never really all that unpopular) is on the rise.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of U.S. voters say school children should say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Just 13% say they should not, and nine percent (9%) are undecided.

Eighty-two percent (82%) say the words “under God” should remain in the Pledge as well. Fourteen percent (14%) think the phrase should be dropped from the Pledge, and just four percent (4%) have no opinion.

The subset topics in the survey also included a few highlights of interest, particularly the questions posed specifically to African-Americans and women. 84% of black Americans felt that school children should recite the pledge each day, compared to 77% of whites. The reason I found this statistic somewhat startling was that the same survey indicated that 91% of Republicans were in favor of the proposal as compared to only 67% of Democrats. Given that African-Americans register as Democrats nearly 90% of the time, that figure seemed striking. The Rasmussen article provides no theory explaining that seeming contradiction.

One of the other questions asked respondents whether or not they felt that America was truly a “land of liberty and justice for all.” Overall, 46% said that is was, with 42% saying it wasn’t. But here the sub-demographics broke quite differently.

Most men believe America is a land of liberty and justice for all, but a plurality of women (45%) disagree.

Whites by a 49% to 40% margin say the United States is a country with liberty and justice for all. But just 20% of black voters agree. Sixty percent (60%) of blacks say America is not fair to all.

Two days after Barack Obama became the first African-American to be voted into the White House, the percentage of black voters who viewed American society as fair and decent jumped 18 points to 42%. Just a month earlier, only 24% of black voters viewed U.S. society as fair and decent.

These figures likely shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. White males, who pretty much ran the system since its inception, were more likely to see the country as a land of equal opportunity. Women and blacks, who had to fight their own long slogging battles for equality during the 20th century, were less likely to see it that way. I tend to think that we still have progress to make in these areas but, with the exception of gay rights, we are at least moving in the right direction and making both the effort and progress towards those goals.

The final quoted paragraph is also interesting in that black Americans seemed to experience a spike in confidence following Barack Obama’s election. I wonder if women underwent a dip in those numbers when Hillary Clinton failed to secure the nomination and where they stand now as opposed to a year ago?

That brings up an interesting facet which was not addressed in the poll. I wonder what percentage of self-avowed, openly-gay Americans would have answered the last question in the positive? Frankly, I’d be shocked if you achieved a figure in double digits. Your thoughts?

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