AP-NORC Poll: Divided Americans worry country is losing it’s identity

Add one more to the list of things dividing left and right in this country: We can’t even agree what it means to be an American.

By Matt Sedensky | AP March 5

 

NEW YORK — Add one more to the list of things dividing left and right in this country: We can’t even agree what it means to be an American.

A new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds Republicans are far more likely to cite a culture grounded in Christian beliefs and the traditions of early European immigrants as essential to U.S. identity.

Democrats are more apt to point to the country’s history of mixing of people from around the globe and a tradition of offering refuge to the persecuted.

While there’s disagreement on what makes up the American identity, 7 in 10 people — regardless of party — say the country is losing that identity.

“It’s such stark divisions,” said Lynele Jones, a 65-year-old accountant in Boulder, Colorado. Like many Democrats, Jones pointed to diversity and openness to refugees and other immigrants as central components of being American.

“There’s so much turmoil in the American political situation right now. People’s ideas of what is America’s place in the world are so different from one end of the spectrum to the other,” Jones said.

There are some points of resounding agreement among Democrats, Republicans and independents about what makes up the country’s identity. Among them: a fair judicial system and rule of law, the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, and the ability to get good jobs and achieve the American dream.