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Survey Reveals What Americans Like And Dislike About Their Country

October 13, 2010 by  

Survey reveals what Americans like and dislike about their countryAs voters are preparing to cast their ballots in November, a recent opinion poll set out to find out what — in the average person's view — are some of the most enduring American institutions.

The survey was conducted by Harris Poll and revealed that the Constitution, colleges and universities as well as pop culture are among the most popular, at 70 percent, 65 percent and 62 percent, respectively.

Majorities have also ranked civil rights (58 percent), living standard (56 percent) and equal opportunity (52 percent) in a positive light.

By contrast, the healthcare system, public education and the political system have scored the lowest on Americans' approval scale. Only 33 percent approve of the medical care system while public schools and politics can count on 32 percent and 23 percent support, respectively.

The study also analyzed attitudes from the point of view of respondents' ideological affiliation. It found that Republicans value America's civil rights more than Democrats do (70 percent to 53 percent). Meanwhile, a total of 43 percent of Republicans hold a favorable view of the healthcare system while only 30 percent of Democrats agree with this position. 

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  • s c

    Bring it on, Harris. This poll may speak volumes about who’s who and what’s what. Healthcare, in particular, should be very revealing. If the poll’s questions are phrased right, some answers may seem more than a bit infuriating, especially since Uncle Scam is determined to force something on so many people who DO NOT want it.

    • eddie47d

      The poll says our medical system is broken which means it needs fixing. It didn’t say Obamacare was the problem. Yet you are so eager to misinterpret things.

      • (WIA) Wild Indian in Action

        Eddie 69d, You continue to suffer from cranial rectal insertion, you need serious help from your proctologist.

  • Bitter Libertarian

    If we operated as a Republic as intended, polls like this would reveal little except the clammorings of Marxist Liberals who want more handouts.

    • Robert S

      I can’t believe they got people to put down their remotes long enough to participate in a survey.

    • Warrior

      >From a teacher in the Nashville area.

      “We are worried about ‘the cow’
      when it is all about the ‘ice cream.’

      The most eye-opening civics lesson I ever had was while teaching third grade this year.

      The presidential election was heating up
      and some of the children showed an interest. I decided that we would have an election for a class president.

      We would choose our nominees.
      They would make a campaign speech and the class would vote.

      To simplify the process, candidates were nominated by other class members.

      We discussed what kinds of characteristics these students should have.

      We got many nominations and from those, Jamie and Olivia were picked to run for the top spot.

      The class had done a great job in their selections. Both candidates were good kids.

      I thought Jamie might have an advantage because he got lots of parental support.

      I had never seen Olivia’s mother.

      The day for their speeches arrived.

      Jamie went first.

      He had specific ideas about how to make our class a better place. He ended by promising to do his very best.

      Everyone applauded and he sat down.

      Now is was Olivia’s turn to speak.
      Her speech was concise. She said, “If you vote for me, I will give you ice cream.”
      She sat down.

      The class went wild. “Yes! Yes! We want ice cream!”

      She surely would say more…but she did not have to.

      A discussion followed. How did she plan to pay for the ice cream? She wasn’t sure.

      Would her parents buy it, or would the class pay for it? She didn’t know.

      The class really didn’t care. All they were thinking about was ice cream.

      Jamie was forgotten.

      Olivia won by a landslide.

      Every time Barack Obama opened his mouth he offered ice cream, and 52% of
      the people reacted like nine year olds.

      They want ice cream.

      The other 48% know they’re going to have to feed the cow and clean up the mess.

      This is the ice cream Obama promised us:

      Remember, the government cannot give anything to anyone that they have not first taken away from someone else.

      Did you vote for the ice cream?
      Remember this: November 2, 2010 is Take Out the Trash Day!

      • Sue Bar

        This is excellent. What gives me hope is that, although Obama won that election, ALMOST (but not quite enough) half the country did NOT vote for him.

      • Robin from Arcadia, IN

        Warrior… You post speaks volumes! Nobody cared how Barry was going to take care of them, but as long as he preached hope and change it was good enough for them! It was only those who looked at the big picture that didn’t vote for him. He was spewing what he couldn’t deliver on, much like Olivia.


      • MAX

        I had heard this before. One thing no one pointed out, is the ice cream tastes good but really lacks substance and goes through a person like water. I guess it is the same as the ice cream we currently get from our “friends” in Congress and the White House. Tastes (sounds good) but no substance. Don’t confuse the mass with any substance( fact), let the media and chocolate topping and everyone will be happy. SURE!!!!!

        • Warrior

          Ok then, try this one on.

          Let me get this straight. We’re going to be “gifted” with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t,
          written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it but exempts themselves from it,
          to be signed by a president who also smokes,
          with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese,
          and financed by a country that’s broke.

          What the hell could possibly go wrong?

          • Patricia Wood

            Exactly! Well stated!

          • 45caliber

            But you forgot to mention we are led by a President who worships himself!

          • Vigilant

            “to be signed by a president who also smokes,…”

            What does smoking have to do with it? Do you think no one should be entitled to health care if they smoke (drink, overeat, take illicit drugs, etc.). You could have chosen a better way to show his hypocrisy.

      • EddieW

        Really nice post!!! I understand Obummer still has a 34% approval rate…why?? I believe it is from people who only get their news from the alphabet news media, therefore have no idea what Obummer is doing to this country!! The media is losing viewers because they don’t tell us the truth, but just give us pap and entertainment!!!

        • eddie47d

          Nobody believes polls until they can use them to their advantage. Clinton left office with a 71% approval rating. Reagan left office with a 68% approval rating. They were both popular in there own way but you wouldn’t know it by comments made against both of them.

      • Gary

        I guess we all know which end of the cow this “icecream is being dispensed from.

  • Dennis

    It does seem that many are beginning to wake up and smell the BS from our “guvment”. Our current politicans have no regard for the constitution, they really belive they are above the law and the will of the people. The colleges and especially the ivey league colleges and universities are filled with liberal teachers, that spew forth their beliefs on the students. These students suck it up like koolaid and then want to change this country. It is past time that we the people took controll of our country, our government and our way of life. We must get back the pride that built this country, the respect for ourselves and fellow person, the idea that we will work for what we need and want, not the idea that the “guvmnt” owes me something. Society and the government do not owe you anything, we owe ourselves the willingness to do our best at the time and then take pride in what we did for the betterment of this country.

  • Ramon Espinosa

    Right on x a Million

  • rollin

    It would have been interesting to have this same poll done 2 years ago and now presently, for comparison, and to analyze both changing mores and perceptions as Obama attacks traditional American values.

  • Polski

    Republicans suck. Democrats suck. Candidate #1 is horrible. Candidate #2 is terrible. ALL Politicians are CROOKS. ALL corporate executives are CROOKS. Republicans want everyone to forget how bad Bush was, and what he did to the country. Democrats want everyone to forget how bad Obama is and what he’s doing to the country. So where is the 3rd choice, NONE OF THE ABOVE…….?????

    • 45caliber

      I always have said that if I wanted to win any political office, I would legally change my name to “None Of The Above”.

      I suspect I’d win by a landslide.

    • PAUL

      The problem with none of the above is … that is how we got Obama. The Republican candidate was a war hero and that was about it. A Rino or false Republican that to vote for you had to hold your nose. I voted and held my nose but too many voted for none of the above of my mind set by not voting or thinking the Obama lies might be true.

  • Anti Government

    Why do we even have Social Security and Medicare? This is not in the constitution. As well as minimum wage also is not in the constitution. OSHA regulations are not in the constitution. Road construction is not in the constitution. People should get back to the good old days when they were no longer useful to go to a “Poor House” or better yet just die. We are not as the bible would have it “our brothers keeper”. If people can’t make it then go in the military or if too old then just die. I know my dad worked until he was 78 years old and at that age why give these people hand outs in the form of Social Security? They have lived long enough. By paying people less than minimum wage an employer will employ more people. If these people don’t have to pay into SS they would have more money in their pocket. And if these low income people would live together they might be able to save for retirement. Why is it the fault of us rich people who provide the jobs in the first place. All roads should be private. Only people who use the road will pay for the road. If they chose not to pay they will not be able to use the road. The free market will work if it is allowed. It shouldn’t matter to us if business’s become monopolistic. If they become the only game in town then just get your wallet out. Business’s all want to be monopolies and what is wrong with wanting to make big profits. I am tired of apologizing for what everyone is thinking.

    • ValDM

      SS is NOT a handout. I paid into this monster, starting when I was 13, and, by george, I’m only taking what’s MINE. Get over yourself, and stop trying to tell others what’s right. Only in your own eyes.

      • Barbara

        I, too, have paid into this system my whole life. I’m 70. I’d also like to point out that I didn’t have any say about paying into it. It was stolen from my paycheck. Expecting restitution is not asking for a handout.

        • 45caliber

          I agree!! It isn’t a handout due to the goodness of the government heart (as some want you to believe). They’ve robbed it of the money we need (I’m retirement age too) and now want to pretend it was never intended for more than government goodness they can no longer afford.

          And I haven’t seen a single comment by ANY politician that suggests that if they stop SS they will also stop the SS tax!

        • eddie47d

          Barbara; Are you cashing in your SS checks and are you glad you are getting that money? Could you live without it or maybe came upon wealth and don’t need it?

          • http://?? Joe H.

            1)What the hell does that have to do with it?? 2) did she HAVE to pay into it?? 3) Did she have ANY choice??? 4) Could she have invested that 40-50 years of money and had a nice nest egg?? 5) Is it HER money??? 6)Are you a dip stick??
            1) NOT A THING!!
            2) Yes!!!
            4)HELL YES!!!!
            6) DEFINATELY A HELL YES!!!!

          • (WIA) Wild Indian in Action

            Eddie69d, At my age 74, It was explained to me that SS was a supplement to a retirement investment of my choice, I paid it by force, I’m collecting by choice and it supplements the income from my investments which for your information is much greater than SS. Only fools buy the “fork tongues” of government, read Treaties Made Treaties Broken. I had very wise parents they taught me by example, get it!

    • Kinetic1

      The fact that you believe that you are “apologizing for what everyone is thinking.” says volumes. Trust me, no one I know believes that our elderly, after decades of honest hard work “should get back to the good old days” and ” when they were no longer useful .. go to a “Poor House” or better yet just die.” Where in the Constitution did you find that idea?

      • Vigilant


        We’re often at odds on the issues, old friend, but we agree 100% on this one. Good post.

        • Kinetic1

          Thanks. Sometimes I think people say these sorts of things just to upset as many people as possible.

    • Kinetic1

      Anti Government
      Wow, I found myself needing to respond to the “Let ‘em Die” part of your post before I could finish your rant. So, all roads should be private. I live on a private road and have for the past three years. The property owners on our street have never been able to come to a reasonable compromise on upkeep. Those at the beginning of the street feel that they should not have to pay for anything past their own driveways, while the folks at the end of the road fell it’s unfair that they should have to pay extra for living further down. What would you do, have them pay by the foot?

      Now those who live in the homes they own are pretty upset, but those who use their homes as rentals don’t much care. As a result our street now looks like an old dirt road, but it’s not as good. We have patches of pavement here and there, so we can’t even run a skip loader to level things out. It’s so bad that our local trash company is requiring us to walk our cans down to the nearest public street, which is about a quarter mile for those at the end. Our mail lady says she almost rolled her jeep in the last rain, so we may have to move our mailboxes as well. I guess we could sue our neighbors, but who has the money? All this because our street is privately owned and some of the property owners are too concerned about themselves to consider the good of the community.

    • Allan Halbert

      May be what you are thinking, but probably not “what everybody is thinking”.

    • http://BobLivingston Janet

      Anti Government:

      How old are you? I would love to see you crying when you want to live a few more years.

    • Gary

      Antigovernment, Maybe you have lived long enough.

  • Carol

    The most wonderful thing about this wonderful country is:


    But Barry Soetoro wants to take all of that away from us unless we fight him and make sure he and henchmen are removed from office.

    • 45caliber


      You can’t have freedom of speech! Someone might say something you don’t want said! Those in government can’t stand an opposing view!

  • http://deleted j.McConnell

    It looks like it is just fine with much of the
    U.S. Senate to outsource American jobs.

    How do we outsource the senate???

  • chuck b
  • http://com i41

    Anti Government, What jackassed party created SS, Medicare, OHSA, all the other wonkish numskulled regulatory agencies? The Marxist Democrat Communist Party, it has and will always strive for total government control over you and this country. Its smuck anal followers of this socialist/dictatorship, pie in the sky, fairy land idoit planned disaster,want to be taken by somebody or agency, because they are ignorant and shovel feed crap since they went to school as their parents have been. Does any one think the 53% of voters who voted for the marxist muslim moron will have learned anything, No Way! These no minds are just like livestock headed to the kill floor in a slaughter plant. They follow behind Judas, the trained goat that leads the way down the alleys to their end. In USA’s case it is the democrat party and it’s present purple lipped muslim moron phony Pres. The part I like about this country is that, if pushed far enough to the left hand threaded track, the honest, hard working, self suffiecent, freedom seeking, and independant people will fight back and it will not be an airy fairy tea and crumpets walk in the park. Same type that settled this country and made it great, not the pusified, overeducate, do nothing productive, dinks in the beltway and all of government.

  • Kinetic1

    Take a look at this poll and you’ll see that it is almost worthless. “On a different topic, how would you rate each of the following in the United States?” “Excellent, Pretty Good, Only Fair, Poor” What does that tell you?

    For one thing, the results noted in this article lump the 2 good and 2 poor results, so the level of enthusiasm is not well represented. For instance, Standard of living is reflected as 56% positive, but that breaks down to 11% excellent and 45% Pretty Good. There’s a lot of difference between excellent and pretty good. Pay $50 for a “pretty good” steak and see if you don’t agree. This just serves to highlight how little each response says. The Health care system: 6% say it’s excellent, 27% Pretty Good, 39% only fair and 29% Poor. How is it “excellent”? What is “pretty good” about it? Should we have more access to doctors, is it too expensive, do you want only public health care or only private? This report says NOTHING about what people really think.

    What does the poll say about their results?
    “These results highlight the importance of granularity and the need to avoid sweeping generalizations about what people think about the United States – and other countries. People see many elements that they like about the United States – and other things they dislike. At one end of the spectrum, 75% of adults think well of American science and technology. At the other, 77% have negative opinions about the political system.”

    “…avoid sweeping generalizations..” I think that says it all, and yet here we are. This article states “It found that Republicans value America’s civil rights more than Democrats do.” Is that so? The poll asks “On a different topic, how would you rate each of the following in the United States?” and the results show 70% of Republicans gave a rating of excellent or pretty good, as apposed to 53% of Democrats. There’s nothing in the question or results to suggest that “Republicans value America’s civil rights more than Democrats”, only that they give civil rights in America a higher rating. That could mean that they feel America has done a good job of protecting civil rights, or that they feel their own civil rights are protected, or they just like the idea of civil rights. In other words, feel free to read whatever you want into the results of this poll, because the results say nothing.

  • 45caliber

    I love these polls (NOT!). They always shape the questions such that if you answer anything differently than they want, you will sound like an idiot to yourself, much less them. I remember a Green poll once; the questions were all such as “Do you favor having a clean planet?”

    And after you answered yes, there would be a comment, “Send us money!”

  • Anti Government

    I am surprised by the response to the anti-gov approach. It seems that people do care about each other and that the services provided by our government are important to each of us. We are not an island onto ourselves. We are neighbors who care for the well being of our fellow neighbors. SS is a great program that has kept our old form the poor house. The retirement age should not have be raised from the 65 year old age. This puts more people in to the workforce thus lowering the wage rates for all the workers. Another consequence to raising the retirement age is that there are MANY who can not physically do the work anymore (construction workers – nursing care workers – ect.) The SS tax is a regressive tax. Because one is not taxed on income over $90,000. There is a simple solution to saving the SS program and that is to make it a flat percentage on all income that is made. On the subject of private roads they also don’t work. I have been involved in agreements over this very subject. If roads are left to the private sector they will be neglected and emergency vehicles and public services will not service these properties, yet the property tax is still collected. The government is us! We vote for these people who have not worked for our interest. The politicians have been bought off by the wealthy special interests. These interests then are given tax breaks to companies to send our jobs to a communist China. How American is this? We need to get the money out of the elections. Candidates should debate and be televised on our public airways. In conclusion I am my brothers keeper!

    • Allan Halbert

      You should have posted this in the first place.

    • Kinetic1

      Anti Government,
      Clearly I have not read enough of your posts to know your general direction, thus I have been duped. Good on ya, or are you playing us now? (Spock, care to use your logic here?) I had assumed that the buttons you were pushing were universal, but confirmation from (almost) all sides helps to renew my faith in humanity. Unfortunately, those who defend the rights of all Americans to keep every penny they make no matter the consequence will fail to see the good in raising the SS tax limit. My household earns well over that $90,000 mark, but we would be fine to pay SS all the way up if it will help our seniors live a better life. Still, I must agree with those who complain about our politicians with their special health care and pensions. Just today my mother was talking about the frustration she feels when seniors are told there will not be a cost of living increase, but that our “leaders” have voted themselves another raise. I have, for years contended that our politicians should depend on the same health care and social security that we do, and their wage should be tied to the average American worker’s wage. We may need to make concessions for the cost of a D.C. residence or travel to their district, but other than that, let them feel the results of their votes.

      • VMC

        I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but here it is again. The US Congress has the exact same options for health insurance coverage as the lowest paid government employee. It is called Federal Employees Healthcare Coverage. They do not have free medical care. The US Congress has the exact same options for retirement that that every Federal Employee has. They pay into Social Security and they can access the Thrift Savings Retirement Plan, which has limits on the amounts that can be contributed annually. They are not eligible for Federal retirement without major restrictions on years of service and age (60+) They do not control COLA for Social Security and Military/Federal Retirees. The COLA’s are administered by agency.
        These facts are easily found on many governement web sites, if anyone bothers to look.

        • VMC

          PS: Congress votes raises for all Federal Employees including themselves. These raises are very small and equally administered across the board. So if I (federal employee) get a 1% raise, so does congress, unless they opt out.

    • Gary

      Well antigovernment, ya got me.

  • JIM

    republicans and democrats are all working for the same power elite—-we need new blood bad—-let’s hope the tea party can do something to bring back our nation

  • JIM

    at least the dems will be out of all houses come nov—-they were even worse than bush’s admin—and that’s pretty serious—-

  • http://BobLivingston We The People

    Ok We shouldn’t have had SS in the first place. Thats for sure!! Way back when, the government thought they had to help us again, and then they stole it from us anyway. They need to be made to pay it back now, and then leave us all alone to have our own money for our retirement. I think the young people know by now that they won’t get any SS. It’s going to have to be gradually taken away and the retirement age higher, but I’m all for taking the politians money away from them too. They don’t deserve the big money they are getting, but we have to stick together to get anything done in Washington. Don’t let them have their good medical ins either. Hold their feet to the fire!! They are taking to much for themselves!!
    How in the heck did we come to this? Pay attention people!!

    • Gary

      We the People, I totally agree. Congress should be forced to eat at the same trough that we do. Also if we take the lifetime salary away from them we might actually get someone into office who wants to serve the public and is not only in it for the money.

  • http://none mark

    ‘obviously’ now is the time to put a 2010 – 2012 clean sweep project into action.
    2010 – 2012 clean sweep project
    we need landslide “dump the incumbent voting” = at every level of government = local, county, state, federal.

    pass the word, keep the faith, and “crush the incumbents” at the poles !!!!

    1. vote against every incumbent whether they are party affiliated OR not.

    2 if a party voted their incumbent out in the primary; then, vote the incumbent dumping parties candidate into office = reward dumping the Incumbent during the party primary.

    3 if there is no incumbent and # 2 does not apply; then, vote in the party that does not occupy the office now OR the person who has the least time in government.

    reward dumping the Incumbent, punish the Incumbents and their party leaders by voting the Incumbents out…

    we need ‘landslide dump the incumbent votes’ at every level of government = local, county, state, federal.

    pass the word and keep the faith ‘crush the incumbents in November !!!!’

    You might point out that when Obee stands up and says everything is working fine – ‘Obee really means EVERYTHING is working fine’… fine for him because everything he is doing to destroy America is going according to the collectivist’s master plans, which America destroying plans Obee thinks are fine, while WE, the American voters, do nothing to stop Obee and his collectivist’s masters from destroying America through their economic and political attacks; again, no opposition is also fine with Obee… and so ‘it is’ fine when you are Arrogant Obee, Marist Toady, and believe destroying successful = free America is the thing to do and it is working.

    vote out all incumbents

  • Outnumbered

    The glimmer of hope I see are the citizen candidates who are whooping the highly funded incumbents and party favorites in a lot of local primaries. The only hope for us is to rip the secular progressive repelican party out of the cold dead hands of the progressive RINO socialists and restore it to the Constitutional party that was once guided by Divine Providence.

    After the country is restored (about 30-40 years), eliminate political parties completely. A naive dream, I know… but a dream nevertheless.

    Here in communist CT we would be lucky enough if the babbling idiot marxist Blumenthal loses to the RINO progressive repelican.

    I am so tired of choosing the lesser of two evils

  • Anti Government

    Interesting comments. I agree in the premise that new people in office would be a good thing but with out changing the fundamental campaign funding mechanism there will be no changes. Make no mistake, money being equated to free speech threatens our whole system. For those who think SS should be repealed you have a fundamental problem. What do you do with the poor, the ones that can’t save for retirement? It is dangerous not to address this problem because there is no one more dangerous than someone who has nothing to lose. This poor segment, especially rural poor, are well armed. For those that bellow about going by the constitution I need to remind you that the framers of the constitution intended that it be a living document. This is evident by the 27 amendments that have been added to the document and I am sure that all would agree that the majority of these amendments should not be changed or left out of the constitution. Good for you Kinetic1, I to make over the $90,000 and agree that if the SS tax was spread equally on the public we would have no problem with the SS program. Because I may not pull out all the money I paid into the system that is the price I pay to have a stable society. I agree that what you have to say about government compensation but would take it further to the corporate level. Corporate CEO’s that are losing money for the corporations are rewarded for it, all while the workers are taking cuts.

  • GetSense

    Another thing we Americans don’t about the present state of our country, are the wimpy politicians who are ashamed, and afraid to stand up for our freedoms.

  • Sheryl

    Nobody said anything about how the American government wastes taxpayer money by giving ‘foreign aid’ to countries which have a fundamental difference in idealogy than the one America follows?


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