American Patriots Don't Criticize Trump to Foreigners, Most Republicans Believe

A supporter of US President Donald Trump brandishes a US flag at a rally at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017. GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images

Fourth of July heralds fireworks, hot dogs and overt displays of American patriotism but a new poll suggests that Americans not only doubt the loyalty of their compatriots but also that increasing numbers of Republicans are convinced that criticizing President Donald Trump to foreigners is incompatible with flag-waving, tub-thumping national pride.

According to a YouGov poll, more than half (53 percent) of Republicans think those expressing criticism of the president to non-Americans aren't patriotic, while only one third think the opposite is true.

The poll is a complete reversal of Republican views in Democrat Barack Obama's presidency. In a similar survey in 2013, over half (52 percent) of Republicans thought criticizing the president to foreigners was compatible with patriotism and only a third (34 percent) disagreed.

For Democrats, criticism of the president is no impediment to patriotism, regardless of the sitting president's party. In the latest poll, 57 percent of Democrats said that an American can criticize the president to a non-American with no dent to their patriotic credentials. A clear majority of Democrats (53 percent) also thought it was acceptable to criticize the president to non-Americans when Obama was president.

The poll discovered widespread skepticism among Americans about the patriotic conviction of their fellow citizens, with 45 percent saying the country is becoming less patriotic. The figure is a small decrease from the 2013 figure, when 46 percent of Americans thought their countrymen and countrywomen were becoming less patriotic.

The YouGov poll also exposed generational difference, with patriotism an identification of the old rather than young.

While 61 percent of those aged 65 or older described themselves as "very patriotic," only 20 percent of those under 30 described themselves in the same terms.

The results reflect the increasingly divided political landscape in the U.S., backed up by a Pew poll last year that found greater political differences among Americans today than at any point in the last two decades.