Disturbing number of college students are NOT patriotic, poll finds

A new poll shows that just 62 percent of undergraduate students are "patriotic."

Less than 20 percent respondents described themselves as "very patriotic."

A new poll shows that only 62 percent of undergraduate college students call themselves “patriotic.”

The poll out of Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics found that only 16 percent of American undergraduate college students between the ages of 18-29 proclaim themselves to be “very patriotic.” At the same time, 47 percent of respondents in this group called themselves “somewhat patriotic.”

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The same survey asked students open-ended questions about their personal definition of the word “patriot.” 

The report notes that self-identified Republican respondents attributed “positive” qualities such as “loyalty, pride, and responsibility” to the concept, while Democrat respondents equated the word with “racism/xenophobia and a general ignorance about the reality of America today.”

The Harvard researchers note that today’s results show a “dramatic change” since the institute conducted a similar poll of 18-24 year old undergraduates, following a different American crisis. One year after the September 11, 2001 attacks, 89 percent of respondents were willing to label themselves as “patriotic,” with a third of students calling themselves “very patriotic.”

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The researchers used data points collected during this poll to identify five key political groups within the demographic:  ”Engaged Progressives,”  ”The Center-Left,  ”Multicultural Moderates,” “The Disengaged,” and the “MAGA Gen.”

”The MAGA Gen” group is said to be “strongly opposed to government actions that curb climate change, provide health insurance to those who cannot afford it, and reduce poverty.” The group is also characterized by its belief in tax cuts to benefit the economy and its view that “recent immigration has done more harm than good.”  

This group was found to be the smallest of the five, making up only 11 percent of the 18-29-year-old undergraduate population. 

The poll comes less than a year after a Gallup survey found that the number of Americans who are “proud” or “very proud” to be American was at an all-time low, with 45 percent of Americans overall saying they were “very proud” of their country. Shortly after that survey was released, Campus Reform’s Cabot Phillips went to George Washington University to ask students whether they were proud of their country. 


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