Who loves America more–liberals or conservatives?

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Which group loves America more? Liberals? Conservatives? Quick: What’s your answer?

Here’s what the data indicate: Seeing Old Glory fly or hearing the national anthem quickens the heartbeat of more conservatives than liberals. Virtually all conservatives (99%) say it makes them feel good to see the flag or hear the anthem, according to my March survey. About 75% of liberals report the same.

More conservatives than liberals profess blind love for the nation. Two of three conservatives (65%) say they support U.S. policies simply because they are the policies of our country. Fewer than half (44%) of liberals agree.

So, do conservatives love America more than liberals? The facts above seem to say so. But, as I said on Monday, love is complicated. Despite disagreements about symbolic patriotism (flag and anthem) and different professions of blind love, there are areas of vast agreement. Almost all liberals (95%) and all conservatives (94%) report tough love of America. Just about all on both sides of the political aisle say that when they oppose some U.S. policies, they do so because they want to improve the country. And three of four liberals (77%) and conservatives (78%) agree that if they criticize the U.S., they do so out of love of country.

Or course, agreement stops when it comes to how to improve the country or which policies are wrong. All the acrimonious debates we’ve discussed on OurValues.org (immigration, healthcare, financial reform, bailouts and more) attest to deep differences in liberal and conservatives policies.

Still, I’d rather have liberals and conservatives who care about the country fight it out than what we see in many other nations: apathy and citizens who lack fealty and affection for their nations.

So: Who loves America more?

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