LOUDONVILLE -- Even with all the country's political divisiveness, most Americans consider themselves patriotic and 80 percent are proud to be Americans, according to a new Siena College Research Institute poll.
But there are still divides, with older people and Republicans more likely to identify themselves as patriots, according to the poll released Wednesday to coincide with Thursday's Fourth of July celebrations.
“Asked whether we are patriotic or if we are proud to be an American, the answer is an overwhelming, ‘Yes’,” said Siena College Research Institute Director Don Levy. “Older New Yorkers are far more likely to say that they are patriotic than younger New Yorkers, 92 to 50 percent, and Republicans say that they are patriotic more robustly than Democrats, 91 to 71 percent."
Republicans also say that they are proud to be an American at rates greater than Democrats, 94 to 77 percent, the poll found.
Overall, 71 percent of New Yorkers describe themselves as patriotic and 80 percent say that they are at least somewhat if not very proud to be an American, according to the poll.
On the respondents, 77 percent say that they pause to celebrate the meaning of the holiday every year. Three-quarters of respondents said it is very or somewhat true that they are "filled with pride" when hearing the "Star Spangled Banner," and 55 percent said that they wear red, white and blue on the Fourth of July.
The survey also found 88 percent of respondents either somewhat (27 percent) or completely (61 percent) believe we should have complete freedom of speech, even for those that criticize the country.
On the other hand, 53 percent think that there is no circumstance in which it would be "OK" to burn the American flag.
Ignoring the advice of nearly every etiquette expert, 32 percent of people said the very often discuss politics or local issues with family or friends, while 35 percent talk about public affairs not very often (24 percent) or not at all (11 percent).
“New Yorkers of every political party, age and region strongly support complete freedom of speech even for those that criticize the country, but a small majority, 52 percent say it is either somewhat or completely descriptive of them that it makes them angry to see anyone that does not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or the national anthem,” Levy said.
"Despite recent discussions about socialism, only 35 percent think that anyone that believes in socialism is not a good American, while 53 percent disagree," Levy said. "Sixty-two percent of Republicans agree, while 70 percent of Democrats disagree."
The poll was conducted June 11-18 by random telephone calls to 348 New York adults via landline and cellphones and 456 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel of New Yorkers, Siena reported.