When it comes to popularity contests, the United States, which celebrates Independence Day Tuesday, may not be the prom queen of nations, but she is the beauty most people would rather snuggle with if they had the choice.
Asked if they could live anywhere in the world, 75 percent of American adults say they would prefer to live right here in the “good old U.S. of A.,” according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey release on the eve of the nation’s 241st birthday.
The pre-Independence Day survey said that 49 percent of American adults “believe the United States, as the Pledge of Allegiance states, is indeed a nation with liberty and justice for all.” However, that number is down from last year’s 53 percent, but still up three points from the 46 percent in 2014, according to Rasmussen.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” —Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
What is clear from this new survey is that, as the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, the public seems somewhat evenly divided, with 44 percent telling Rasmussen that they “do not believe the United States is a nation with liberty and justice for all.”
Surveys like this reinforce long-standing tongue-in-cheek questions for anti-American protesters that run something like this: “If the United States is such a rotten place, why are so many people constantly sneaking in?”
One doesn’t see a flood of disgruntled Americans clandestinely fleeing south, or to Europe or Asia. Most other countries appear to have tougher immigration policies, and are not so pleasant with illegal entrants.
One attention-getter result of the new survey is that 15 percent of the respondents said they would not live in this country if given a choice. But that ignores the reality that they actually do have a choice. Americans don’t have to live here if they don’t want to. They are free to travel. All they need to do is find a home somewhere else, where they can find a job or a welcome mat.
There is more to the survey, and some of the data is revealing.
According to Rasmussen, 52 percent of men say this country “is a nation with liberty and justice for all, a view shared by 46 percent of women.” But 47 percent of women disagree.
Here’s another revelation that suggests there may be a generational conflict.
“Adults under 40 are less likely than their elders to say the United States offers liberty and justice for all,” Rasmussen said. “They’re also the most likely to say they would live somewhere other than the United States.”
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”—Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
There is some racial division too: “Most black Americans do not think the United States has liberty and justice for all. Half of white and other minority Americans disagree. The majority of adults of all races would opt to live in the United States still if given the option, though.”
The inference is that even though people may not think this country has “liberty and justice for all,” it still beats other places. At least in the United States, people can march, block traffic, rail against the government and even perform plays depicting the assassination of a president they don’t like, and they get away with it. Most such activities fall under the protection of the First Amendment, provided they are peaceful and do not incite violence.
There are party line divisions as well. According to Rasmussen, 76 percent of Republicans think the country has liberty and justice for everyone, but only 30 percent of Democrats do. Forty-six percent of independents also have doubts about liberty and justice equality.
Still, the survey noted, “majorities across the partisan board still say they’d live in the United States over anywhere else.” Some people may not like it here, but the survey suggests they would like it a lot less somewhere else.