The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Proud to be an American? You’re probably not a true liberal.

U.S. soccer fans watching from the pier at Hermosa Beach, Calif., celebrate U.S. player Clint Dempsey's opening goal against Ghana in the first round of the World Cup on June 16. (Frederic J. Brown/ AFP/Getty Images)
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Michelle Obama took some heat in 2008 for saying that, "for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country..."

As it turns out, that sentiment isn't all that unusual on the far left of American politics. According to a new Pew Research Center study, only 40 percent of consistently liberal Americans say they often feel proud to be Americans.

The other 60 percent say that doesn't describe them.

The finding is contained in Pew's new "Political Typology" report, which breaks Americans down into seven different categories -- rather than the usual three. Among the seven categories, "solid liberals" are the only group in which a majority say they aren't regularly proud to be Americans.

By contrast, more than seven in 10 "steadfast conservatives" and eight in 10 "business conservatives" say they are generally proud to be Americans.

The poll also shows many liberals don't liken themselves to your average American. Just 51 percent say they feel as though they are "typical Americans" -- as compared to three-quarters of conservatives and at least two-thirds of all the other groups.

The results differ from other recent polling which has tested a similar question. Gallup found strong majorities of all political groups say they are generally proud to be Americans, and Fox News in 2011 actually found more Democrats than Republicans said they were proud.

Part of the difference in the new poll, undoubtedly, is that Pew drills down a little more to highlight differences between true liberals and other liberals who might not be as consistent. Pew's definition of "solid liberals" comprises just 15 percent of the American population -- a much smaller group than just "liberals" or Democrats.

The second is that Pew asked people whether they thought "often feel proud to be an American" was a phrase that described them well. Apparently that's a higher bar than asking people whether they are proud of their country in general.

Also, just in case this post made you long for the dulcet tones of Lee Greenwood: