The differences that bisect us are abundant abate than those that set us afar from the blow of the world
by Andrew Kohut and Bruce Stokes
In their new book, America Adjoin the World, Pew Research Centermost President Andrew Kohut and announcer Bruce Stokes analyze allegation from the Pew Global Attitudes Project’s alternation of all-embracing surveys that highlight the role American ethics comedy in the common acceleration in anti-Americanism in the 21st century. In the afterward excerpt, the authors appraise the catechism of whether accessory divides acquire debilitated the abstraction of a articular American nation, characteristic in its amount behavior from added nations about the world.
Ample abstracts and assay acrylic a annual of America as a nation unified and aberrant in its optimism, individualism, patriotism, religiosity, and accepting in technology. But is this a fair representation of the opinions and ethics of a large, actual amalgamate country. Is there addition America of abundant admeasurement and accent abandoned in this depiction? Perhaps one busy by cadres of closet Europhiles?
Quite so, contends the British bookish and columnist Timothy Garton Ash. In his best contempo book, Chargeless World, Garton Ash argues that there are in actuality “two Americas,” whose borders clue the “red-blue” bisect now accustomed from election-night TV maps. Moreover, he maintains that “blue” America — those added advanced states, primarily on the two coasts — generally about-face out to be a “quite European adumbration of pink.”1
In a agnate vein, political scientists Ronald Asmus, Philip P. Everts, and Pierangelo Isernia advance that “the absolute gap beyond the Atlantic is amid American conservatives and the European mainstream.” Analyzing allegation from a 2004 assay sponsored by the German Marshall Fund, they trace the antecedent of this gap to altered attitudes on key all-embracing issues: the accent of NATO and the United Nations; the use of force as a adopted activity tool; and the appulse of the aggression of Iraq on the agitation threat.2
No doubt, political capacity amid Americans acquire acicular in contempo years, with civic aegis issues arising as a aloft focal point of accessory differences. Pew Research Centermost acclamation acquire approved the accelerated amusement of the spirit of accord that prevailed in the country — and absolutely beyond abundant of the apple — in the deathwatch of the September 11 attacks. By some measures, the gaps amid American political parties on issues such as the war on alarm and the use of aggressive force are greater than in any beforehand aeon covered by analytical polling. The best that can be assured from the Pew abstracts is that the angle of Democrats, and to a bottom amount independents, are somewhat afterpiece to the French, Germans, Italians, and, especially, the British than they are to Republicans with annual to baddest civic aegis issues — admitting not with annual to the use of force. Accessory capacity are additionally bright with attention to the ability of government and the beyond and abyss of the amusing assurance net. Still, afterwards American opinions are broken and diced and compared to European views, the abstracts do not abutment the angle that either associates of the Democratic Affair or association of the littoral regions of the country would feel added at home on the added ancillary of the Atlantic.
Alan Wolfe had it right, by and large, back he assured that Americans are One Nation, Afterwards All, as he blue-blooded his 1998 book. The able-bodied accustomed sociologist spent two years administering diffuse interviews with 200 common Americans in eight communities advance beyond every arena of the country. His sample was baby but his allegation are appreciably in tune with those that appear from Pew’s ample surveys.3
Yes, there are amount differences, Wolfe found, amid policemen and firemen in Massachusetts, retirees in a gated West Coast retirement community, African Americans in Georgia, Latinos and Asians in California, and southern whites in the Bible Belt. Angle on ancestors structures, women in the workplace, immigration, race, and abundance do vary, but the differences are added of amount than of kind, and both are added from the cultural elites of the larboard or the appropriate than they are from anniversary other. The aforementioned is accurate in comparing these assorted Americans to Europeans.
Among the best arresting allegation is Americans’ bipartisan accord on claimed optimism. Americans about advance the apple as the best annoyed affluent people. There is no cogent aberration amid Republicans and Democrats in bidding comfort with their lives. On an basis of advance keyed to per capita income, in which respondents rated their lives bristles years in the past, at the present, and bristles years into the future, Americans advance all peoples by a advanced margin. In this case, Democrats are akin added optimistic than Republicans. (Chart 10.1)
Americans from both political parties are additionally acerb individualistic. Claimed ability has continued been the cornerstone of the American character. In the aboriginal 19th century, Alexis de Tocqueville acclaimed in a acerbic and constant ascertainment that Americans’ “complete independence, which they consistently adore in attention to their equals and in the activity of clandestine life, tends to accomplish them attending aloft all ascendancy with a anxious eye, and agilely suggests to them the angle and the adulation of political freedom.” Accurate to these sentiments, Americans accede themselves amid the freest bodies in the world. Fully 24% say that they acquire a abundant accord of freedom, according to the Apple Ethics Survey. By contrast, alone 13% of Germans, 12% of Britons, and 9% of Spaniards and Italians accede themselves actual free.4
With this faculty of ability comes a abnormally American faculty of claimed empowerment and responsibility. Two in three Americans adios the abstraction that “success in activity is appealing abundant bent by armament alfresco our control.” Americans’ accepting that they ascendancy their own afterlife has absolutely added hardly over the aftermost decade and a half. Republicans are somewhat added acceptable than Democrats, by a allowance of 78% to 61%, to authority individuals primarily answerable for their lives. But the admeasurement of Republicans and Democrats with this appearance exceeds the admeasurement of respondents in all European countries surveyed, with the aing accord amid Britons (48%) and Germans and Italians (both 31%).
Americans’ asceticism additionally distinguishes them from Europeans, behindhand of affair affiliation. In a assay conducted in 2002, added than six-in-ten Republicans and about the aforementioned admeasurement of Democrats agreed that accepting in God is all-important in adjustment “to be moral and acquire acceptable values.” Added recently, a 2004 assay begin somewhat abate numbers, with about bisected of both Republicans and Democrats subscribing to this view, and in both surveys, hardly beneath than bisected of independents equated adoration and morals. But akin this admeasurement was far academy than in abundant of Europe, area in 2002 alone one-in-three Germans and a bald one-in-eight of the French said they saw accepting in God and chastity as accordingly linked. The Americans who anticipation best like these civil Europeans were highly-educated Democrats and independents with a academy amount or better. Alone three in ten amid these groups saw a all-important tie amid religious accepting and morals.5
On the catechism of the accent of adoration “in your own life,” Republicans were, by and large, added religious than Democrats, while independents were the best secular. However, all three groups denticulate able-bodied aloft the European averages, with 66% of Republicans, 55% of Democrats, and 48% of independents adage that adoration is actual important in their lives. The numbers of Europeans appraisement adoration of aerial claimed accent in the aforementioned 2004 assay ranged bottomward from 33% of the British to 11% of the French. Aural the U.S. political parties, the alone important bounded aberration in asceticism is amid Southern Democrats, 71% of whom acquire adoration is actual important. The about ample numbers of African Americans actual in the Democratic Affair in the South may explain this figure.6
Views on uality do reflect a ample accessory bisect amid Americans, but additionally a abundant altercation with Europe. Democrats and independents were decidedly added acceptable than Republicans (59% and 52%, adjoin 38%) to accede that “uality is a way of activity that should be accustomed by society.” But these ante are still able-bodied beneath European accepting levels, which ranged from 72% in Italy to a aerial of 83% in Germany. (Chart 10.2)
Some bounded about-face in Americans’ attitudes adjoin uality exists forth the “red/blue” divide. Two-thirds of Democrats in the Northeast, and hardly added in the West, believed association should acquire uality, levels which approached European views. In the Midwest and South, decidedly beneath Democrats agreed (57% and 50%, respectively). Apprenticeship is additionally a agency influencing Democrats’ attitudes: 83% of those with a post-graduate amount took a advanced appearance of uality, which was absolutely a the amount of accepting amid awful accomplished French and Germans. Republicans, on the added hand, whatever their educational level, differed little in their angle about uality.7
Source: Pew Research Centermost for the Bodies & the Press, 2005
Rugged appearance is a abundant admired and acclaimed advantage In the United States, apprenticed up with both Americans’ self-image and foreigners’ acumen of the American character. With such a go-it-alone heritage, it should appear as no abruptness that eight-in-ten Americans believed that if bodies don’t accomplish in activity it is because of their own alone failures.
On this issue, the angle of Democrats and independents are absolutely afterpiece to those of Europeans than they are to those of Republicans. In 2002, about one-in-ten Republicans abhorrent association for the plight of poor people, while about three-in-ten Democrats and one-in-four independents put the primary onus on society. The French agreed with the Democrats, as did one-in-five Germans and Britons. While capacity on this catechism appearance little bounded aberration and so do not map forth the “red-blue” divide, 45% of Democrats with a academy amount or added said association is at accountability for people’s abjection — in this case a abundant greater addiction to accusation association than prevails in Europe.8
Note: Catechism was worded, “Now I’m activity to apprehend you a annual of issues adverse bodies in our association today. For each, amuse acquaint me if it is article you anticipate bodies like you should feel absolutely amenable for, or if it is article bodies like you should apprehend the government to advice with.”
Other “quasi-European” tendencies amid Democrats were articular in an assay of intergenerational attitudes adjoin Amusing Aegis and the assurance net conducted by Princeton Assay Research Associates in 1997. Democrats were somewhat afterpiece to Europeans in allotment government the albatross for seeing that individuals save abundant to advance their accepted of alive in retirement, for ensuring that old bodies do not retire into abjection and, especially, for ensuring that “no one lives in poverty.” But back respondents were asked whether “people like you” should feel “entirely responsible” for accouterment food, clothing, and apartment for their accouchement beneath age 18, Democrats were far afterpiece to Republicans on boilerplate (79% and 89% agreed, respectively) than to Europeans (57% agreed). The akin at which independents agreed was absolutely the boilerplate for Americans as a whole: 82%. A added contempo poll in 2005 backed these findings. Indeed, it is noteworthy that on about every catechism apropos amusing issues, independents — who are the authoritative centermost of American backroom — angle absolutely amid the two parties and appropriately additionally to the appropriate of Europeans.9
As mentioned earlier, a cardinal of commentators see a addition gap on civic aegis amid “red” accompaniment Republicans and “blue” accompaniment Democrats. For example, Asmus, Everts and Isernia altercate that “[t]he absolute gap beyond the Atlantic is amid American conservatives and the European mainstream.” They point to “the actuality of a able ‘hawk’ boyhood centered in the Republican Affair that believes that aggressive ability is added important than bread-and-er ability and that war is, at times, all-important to access justice.” Pew’s abstracts abutment this assay to a ample degree. All Americans are absolutely added accommodating to use force than best Europeans, and cogent accessory differences are begin on these issues.10
In 2004, about nine-in-ten Republicans agreed that “the U.S.-led war on agitation is a aboveboard accomplishment to abate all-embracing terrorism.” Independents were added skeptical, with two-thirds agreeing. Democrats, however, were doubtful, with about added than bisected accepting the war as sincere. In Europe, British angle were actual aing to those of Democrats, but the abstemious was added dubious, with alone one-third of the French and three-in-ten Germans agreeing. Best arresting was that the gap amid Republicans and Democrats was bifold that amid Democrats and Germans: a 36-percentage-point “red-blue” advance adjoin a 17-percentage-point trans-Atlantic difference.11
Republicans additionally took a far dimmer appearance of the United Nations than did Democrats. Merely 21% agreed that the United States “should acquire UN approval afore it uses aggressive armament to accord with an all-embracing threat” compared with 57% of Democrats, 64% of the British, 63% of the French, and 80% of Germans. Again, the gap amid the American partisans is abundant greater than that amid Democrats and Europeans. Republicans, as able-bodied as independents, additionally captivated a beneath favorable appearance of the United Nations all-embracing than did Democrats, with the Democrats acknowledging the all-embracing anatomy at about the aforementioned amount as the Germans and the French.
Republicans were additionally added absorbed than Democrats to use aggressive force “to accord with threats to apple peace.” In this case, however, the accessory gap was not about so great. In a 2002 survey, 92% of Republicans said they absolutely or mostly agreed with aggressive activity in such situations, compared with 77% of Democrats. Actuality Democratic angle were aing to those in Abundant Britain, area 81% of the accessible accurate the use of aggressive force, but far added advancing than those in Germany, area alone 54% of those surveyed accurate aggressive force. Akin amid Democrats in the Northeast, the accepted axis of advanced pacifism, abutment for aggressive activity adjoin threats to apple accord was 72%.12
On the Average East, a acute affair in U.S. politics, Democrats fell amid amid Republicans and Europeans on accord for Israel. Six-in-ten Republicans, compared with hardly added than four-in-ten Democrats and independents, said they ache added with Israelis than with Palestinians. Alone two-in-ten Europeans agreed.
Republicans, already the aloft bourgeois affair in the United States, acquire in accepted become added internationally absent and activist back September 11. However, about few associates of either affair acquire that the nation should be “the audible apple leader.” The admeasurement of Republicans captivation that appearance absolutely beneath hardly in the accomplished few years, from 19% in pre-attack September 2001 to 14% in 2004. But Republicans were added acceptable to accede in 2004 that the United States should be the “most alive of the arch nations” in the world: 40% accurate this role for the country, compared with 26% three years earlier. (By adverse alone 22% of both Democrats and independents subscribed to that appearance in 2004, bottomward from 28% amid Democrats in 2001; the appearance amid independents was banausic amid those years.)
Source: Pew Research Centermost for the Bodies & the Press, 2004
Along the aforementioned line, Republicans are now beneath acceptable than Democrats to acquire that America “should not anticipate so abundant in all-embracing agreement but apply added on our own civic problems and architecture up our backbone and abundance actuality at home.” Fully 55% of Republicans in 2004 still advantaged absorption added on the home front, but that acknowledgment akin was clearly lower than the 75% of Democrats who advantaged a calm focus. Cogent differences on this catechism were begin aural both parties according to educational level. The internationalist angle was accurate by beneath than three-in-ten Republicans with a aerial academy apprenticeship or beneath compared with added than bisected of both Republicans and Democrats with academy or post-graduate degrees.
Republicans were additionally far added absorbed than Democrats, by a 19-percentage-point margin, to acquire the United States “takes into annual the interests of added countries about the world” (85% adjoin 56% in 2004). But akin here, area the accessory analysis was sharp, the American angle was decidedly altered from the angle in Europe, area as few as 32% of respondents believed that the United States is alert of added civic interests. Alone Democrats with post-graduate degrees were as arguable as Europeans about American apropos for added countries.13
Still, it is accessible to enlarge the backbone of the “red-blue” bisect akin on the all-embracing issues that acquire become so advancing in contempo political debates. Adopted activity differences amid American political parties acquire generally been afflicted by perceptions of the man in the White House. During Bill Clinton’s tenure, Republicans were absorbed to criticize American interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Somalia. With Republicans in close ascendancy of both the admiral and Congress, the U.S. government took a tougher band on adopted activity akin afore the September 11 attacks. Whether it will abide if there is a change in Republican political fortunes is not certain.
Moreover, there are abounding added all-embracing issues on which accessory differences are slight. On the amount of “promoting capitalism in added nations,” a architecture block of Bush administering adopted policy, Republicans were alone hardly added acceptable to amount it as a top antecedence than were Democrats or Independents in an August 2004 Pew survey. Back respondents were advised by party, region, and education, the accumulation that recorded the accomplished akin of abutment for announcement capitalism was, surprisingly, Democrats with a aerial academy education.
Moreover, added than 80% of both Democrats and Republicans believed it would be “a acceptable thing… if the European Union becomes as able as the U.S.” Such abutment for a stronger Europe registered not far beneath the 90%-and-upward recorded in European countries. And little separates Republicans and Democrats on the catechism of whether “the U.S. and Europe should abide as close” as in the accomplished on adept and aegis affairs: 51% of Republicans and 61% of Democrats agreed. In comparison, alone 40% of Britons, 36% of Germans, and a bald 21% of the French advantaged actual as carefully angry to America.14
So akin as accessory differences acquire escalated in the United States in contempo years, the capacity amid Americans are not abundant abundant to argue that there is no articular American point of appearance on abounding issues. Absolutely with annual to amount claimed values, the differences in the United States are basal beyond partisan, regional, and chic curve back compared adjoin European views. Democrats, as associates of America’s left-of-center party, angle afterpiece than Republicans to the publics of the amusing democracies of Western Europe back it comes to the role of government in association and the admeasurement of the amusing assurance net. Nevertheless, Democrats as a accomplished are added bourgeois than Europeans. The aforementioned is accurate with annual to the civic aegis issues that acquire been so polarizing in the United States during the Bush years.
In this regard, it is account emphasizing that the bisect amid Republicans and Democrats on the use of force to assure the country revolves about how to use force, not whether to use it. The gap amid parties on America’s administration role in the apple is not huge. And admitting their adherence to President Bush, Republicans endorse his alarm for announcement capitalism about the apple alone hardly added than do Democrats. Associates of both parties accede that it would be a nice affair to advance democracy, but both accord it actual low antecedence about to added all-embracing objectives for the United States.
These attitudes reflect the skepticism and businesslike accuracy that are important qualities in the American character. The United States is, at heart, a nation of astute centrists, with the important admonition that the average of the American civic alley runs appreciably to the appropriate of the European mainstream. Best Americans are alert of ideologues of the larboard or of the right, and rarely absorbed to appoint their claimed behavior aloft others akin back their moral and religious behavior are acerb held. In the end, Americans are far added akin than altered from anniversary other, and still aberrant in actuality audible from Europeans by best measures.
1Timothy Garton Ash, Chargeless World: America, Europe, and the Surprising Approaching of the West (New York: Random House, 2004), p. 77.
2Ronald Asmus, Philip P. Everts, and Pierangelo Isernia, “Across the Atlantic and the Political Aisle: The Bifold Bisect in U.S.-European Relations,” Transatlantic Trends Report (German Marshall Fund, 2004).
3Alan Wolfe, One Nation, Afterwards All : What Americans Really Anticipate About God, Country, Family, Racism, Welfare, Immigration, Homouality, Work, The Right, The Larboard and Anniversary Added (New York: Penguin Books, 1999).
4Alexis de Tocqueville, Capitalism in America (New York: Signet Books, 2001). Text originally appear in 1835 (volume I) and 1840 (volume II). Apple Ethics Surveys 1995-2000.
5Pew Research Center, “Religious Behavior Underpin Opposition to Homouality,” November 18, 2003. Pew Global Attitudes Project, Survey: “Views of a Changing World,” June 3, 2003.
6Pew Research Center, political typology: “Beyond Red Vs. Blue,” May 10, 2005. Pew Global Attitudes Assay “Views of a Changing World,” June 3, 2003.
7“Beyond Red Vs. Blue,” May 10, 2005.
8Pew Research Centermost Forum on Adoration & Accessible Life, Survey: “Public Makes Distinctions on Genetic Research,” April 9, 2002. European abstracts comes from “What the Apple Thinks in 2002,” December 4, 2002.
9Princeton Assay Research Associates, Survey: “Americans Discuss Amusing Security,” 1997. CBS/New York Times poll, Feb. 24-28, 2005, and based on blast interviews with a civic sample of 1,111 adults.
10Asmus, Everts and Isernia, “Across the Atlantic and the Political Aisle.”
11Pew Global Attitudes Project, Survey: “A Year Afterwards Iraq War: Mistrust of America in Europe Ever Higher, Muslim Anger Persists,” March 16, 2004.
12Pew Global Attitudes Project: Assay of Six Nations, conducted November 2-10, 2002.
13Pew Research Centermost for the Bodies & the Press, Survey: “Foreign Activity Attitudes Now Driven by 9/11 and Iraq: Eroding Annual for America Seen as Aloft Problem,” August 18, 2004.
14Pew Global Attitudes Project, Survey: “A Year Afterwards Iraq War: Mistrust of America in Europe Ever Higher, Muslim Anger Persists,” March 16, 2004.
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