Morning Consult: Only 16% of Gen-Z adults proud to be American


Game over, man — game over? Well, maybe, but this new poll result from Morning Consult has a couple of caveats.

First, though, let’s check out the graph for our daily end-of-the-world input:


Gen Z adults are 18-25 years old, a formative age for political views. For today’s zoomers, COVID-19 lockdowns, social unrest and graphic images of police brutality may be causing them to abandon a sense of American exceptionalism relative to older cohorts, especially in terms of respect for civil liberties at home compared with less democratic countries. If younger Americans think the United States is just one of many countries that “regularly represses civil rights,” as our corresponding survey question states, then this would explain why they hesitate to boycott companies for operating in what they see as similar environments overseas. As the adage goes, he who lives in a glass house should not throw stones.

Gen Z adults have much lower trust in U.S. government institutions than older generations. They are also much less likely than other cohorts to say they are proud to live in the United States. Gen Z has by far the lowest net share expressing such patriotic sentiment: At just 16 percentage points in net agreement, they clock in 20 percentage points below the next lowest generation (millennials) and a whopping 57 percentage points below baby boomers.

First minor caveat: this poll took place at least in part over the midterm elections. Perhaps in gauzy memory, such events might provoke a nostalgic sense of patriotism, such as our selective memories of the 1976 Bicentennial celebrations, which look a lot more enthusiastic in the rear-view mirror than the commercialized reality of them at that time. For a generation just barely beginning to engage in the political process, that time frame may have generated a wee bit more cynicism than usual.


Second minor caveat: The polling sample is actually strong and therefore so is the margin-of-error level for the demos and subdemos. But as with other polling lately, one has to wonder how much selection bias plays a role. Who answers these calls, and who sits for this long to answer surveys of this depth? For younger people especially, those motivated to complete these may be the most cynical or angry.

Those caveats should be kept in mind, but I suspect most of our readers will accept the results on this question at face value. Would this outcome really surprise anyone — especially those who have kept pace with the way education and curricula have evolved over the last few decades? My generation may have been the last to get fully instructed on American civics, values, and the worth of our small-r republican institutions. (For reference, I’m on the cusp between Boomers and Gen-X.)

Since that time, American students have gotten a full dose of Zinn-esque education on American history, plus a curricula soaked in critical race theory assumptions, if not overt and explicit CRT itself. Why would we expect any other outcome from such a survey? The surprise here may be that one in seven young adults still have any patriotic feelings about America at all.


There may be some reason for optimism, in fact. Millennials got the same or similar education, and yet more than twice as many feel patriotic about America. That may come from actual life experience, especially as they travel abroad or learn about life in countries outside the US more indirectly. Even Gen-Xers got the political-correctness education, and a majority of them grasp the value of America. There may be hope for Gen-Z adults, even if it’s over a longer haul. However, the real lesson here is that we need to educate our children better — not indoctrinate them, but provide a real basis of American civics and instruction on history that neither whitewashes nor undercuts our institutions.

Finally, let’s all marvel at the irony that the most patriotic demo in this survey is the Baby Boomers — the free love, hippie, anarchic generation that has spent its entire existence revolting against their parents. Welcome home, boys and girls, and don’t trust anyone under 60.

By the way, we had technical difficulties with my podcast on Friday, which was taped before the Speaker election finally ended. It’s available now and features:

  • Duane Patterson joins me to discuss the internecine fight in the House GOP caucus, and why Duane thinks the written proposal that dropped last night might be a game changer.
  • We also talk about the massive release of Social Security numbers by the J6 committee from White House visitor logs.
  • Plus: what comes next for the NFL after the Damar Hamlin crisis this week.

The Ed Morrissey Show is now a fully downloadable and streamable show at  SpotifyApple Podcaststhe TEMS Podcast YouTube channel, and on Rumble and our own in-house portal at the #TEMS page!

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