Land of the free? Not so much. Americans' sense of freedom drops, poll finds. - CSMonitor.com - FACTOIDS
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Land of the free? Not so much. Americans' sense of freedom drops, poll finds. - CSMonitor.com

Americans are feeling 'less satisfied with the freedom to choose what to do with their lives,' according to a Gallup poll. The trend could be linked to a perceived rise in corruption.

By , Staff writer

 

This Independence Day, Americans will celebrate the nation’s core values, especially freedom. But according to a new international poll, Americans have become significantly "less satisfied with the freedom to choose what they want to do with their lives."

Seventy-nine percent of US residents are satisfied with their level of freedom, down from 91 percent in 2006, according to the Gallup survey, released Tuesday.

That 12-point drop pushes the United States from among the highest in the world in terms of perceived freedom to 36th place, outside the top quartile of the 120 countries sampled, trailing Paraguay, Rwanda, and the autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Recommended: How do key countries rank on corruption?

Only 10 nations experienced as sharp a drop as the US in terms of the satisfaction of citizens with their level of freedom: Egypt, Greece, Italy, Venezuela, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Romania, Yemen, Pakistan, and Spain.s facing the country.”

Still, the report notes, there are some problems with this hypothesis: Self-reported job creation has rebounded, Americans are “feeling better about the economy,” and spending habits in the US are near their pre-recession levels.

“Although unclear, the decline in perceived freedom could be more than just economics,” such as how Americans view their government, writes Mr. Clifton. 

Since June 2013, confidence of Americans in their government has dropped significantly. In a poll released Monday, Gallup reports a 7-point drop in confidence in the presidency (to 29 percent), a 4-point drop for the Supreme Court (to 30 percent), and a 3-point drop for Congress (to 7 percent, a record low).

According to another poll also released by Gallup on Tuesday, the portion of Americans who believe there to be “widespread corruption” in the US has jumped from 59 percent in 2006 to 79 percent in 2013.  

“It’s hard to say why this is,” says Clifton. “It could be due to recent scandals like the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups and the NSA leaks.”

In any case, he adds, Americans are coming to view their government as an obstacle, rather than an enabler.

“Americans not only feel that the U.S. government is performing poorly, as demonstrated by record-low congressional approval ratings, but they also report that the U.S. government itself as one of the biggest problem facing the country today,” the report concludes.

The survey also notes a statistically significant correlation between perceptions of corruption and perceptions of freedom worldwide, with many of the countries with the most perceived freedom also boasting low levels of corruption.

The Gallup poll took place between 2006 and 2013 and included approximately 1,000 face-to-face interviews from each nation. The margin of error ranged from 1.7 to 5.8 percent.

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