The Flag

July 4, 2012
Posted by Jay Livingston

Five years ago, Pew Research did a survey on patriotism.  The study was released with this title:
Who Flies the Flag? Not Always Who You Might Think
A Closer Look at Patriotism
Pew asked people if they displayed the flag at home, at work, or on their cars. Most of the demographic breakdowns were what you and Pew would expect.  Flag flying was more common among Whites, males, and Republicans. Apparently what surprised Pew (or its headline writer) was the regional breakdown.

As Pew says, “Notably, significantly more Northeasterners and Midwesterners fly the flag than do residents of the South or the West.”

Not to get to Clintonesque here, but maybe it depends on what  “the flag” means.  People in the South are in fact more likely to display a national flag. But the flag these patriots display is not the one in the picture above, the flag of the USA.  It is the flag of a country that fought a war against the USA – a war that killed a greater proportion of the population of the USA than has any other war in our history. (Even the absolute number of USA dead and wounded is second only to World War II.)

UPDATE:  A 2011 Pew survey found that 8% of the total sample said they displayed the Confederate flag.  If we assume that all these were in the South and add them to the 58% of Southerners in the 2007 survey who said they displayed “the flag,” the South still trails the Northeast in flagwaving, though the 3-point difference is within the margin of error. (HT: @ConradHackett)

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