Daniel W. Drezner

Who’s the proudest country of them all?

Who’s the proudest country of them all?

The University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center just released a cross-national survey to find who had the greatest degree of pride in their countries. Guess who did well? The results may partially surprise you:

Among 33 nations surveyed, the United States was the nation with the leading score in pride over specific accomplishments and Venezuela was the leading nation in the general national pride portion of the survey…. The researchers asked a series of questions related to general national pride that asked people to what extent they agreed with such statements as, ?I would rather be a citizen of my country than any other country in the world,? and ?Generally speaking, my country is a better country than most countries.? A second set of questions about national pride in specific areas, such as the nation?s achievements in science and technology, the arts, sports and political influence in the world. On the general pride measure, people in Venezuela had a score of 18.4 (out of a possible 25), while people in the United States had a score of 17.7. Other top leaders in that category were Australia (17.5), Austria (17.4), South Africa (17), Canada (17), Chile (17.1), New Zealand (16.6) and Israel (16.2). In the domain-specific category, the United States led with a score of 4 followed by Venezuela (3.6), Australia (2.9), Austria (2.4), South Africa (2.7), Canada (2.4), Chile (2.6), the Philippines (2.3) and Israel (2.3). The countries at the bottom of the list are generally established nations in Europe. ?It could be that those nations are experiencing a response to globalism, particularly among young people. Many identify as much as being Europeans as they do as being citizens of their own country. In some European nations, the concept of strong patriotism also has negative connotations,? Smith said. The bottom 10 nations in the survey, beginning with the last, were the eastern portion of Germany, Latvia, Sweden, Slovakia, Poland, the western portion of Germany, Taiwan, France, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.

Click here to see the full paper. The paper distinguishes between the general pride and domain-specific measures as follows:

The domain-specific measure assesses positive feelings towards national accomplishments in specific areas, but is not overtly nationalistic, imperialistic, nor chauvinistic. The general national pride measure has a much harder edge to it….. [put] another way, the domain-specific, national pride scale is nationally affirming without being necessarily hegemonic, but the general, agree-disagree, national-pride scale places one’s nation above other countries.

For a variety of reasons, I’m not surprised about the U.S. results — they’re pretty consistent with both the 1995/96 results and the “American exceptionalism” thesis underlying those responses. Venezuelan pride does surprise me a bit. General Social Survey director Tom Smith observed that the top two countries “formed their national identities through conflicts that bound their people together and created a national story that resonates with citizens.” That could be it. Supporters of Hugo Chavez no doubt would credit his policies. Based on no scientific evidence whatsoever, I would posit that a key source of Venezuelan pride can be found here, here, and here — though this factor appears to annoy UNESCO no end.