Although the United States has always had competing narratives about its national identity, today the competition has transformed into a dangerous fight. A critical piece of moving America towards a healthier, more inclusive democracy will be lifting up narratives of national identity that can reach and resonate across lines of difference.
Since 2020, More in Common has been studying beliefs and attitudes towards American identity and how they vary across groups in the United States. Beginning in February 2022, More in Common began organizing monthly meetings of a table of non-profits and civil society partners who are similarly invested in the subject of American history and identity, and who want to act from an evidence base to draw Americans together. These partners serve as collaborators and informal advisers on this project.
In May and June 2022, More in Common partnered with YouGov to field a national survey to a representative sample of 2,500 adult U.S. citizens. This survey is the first of three that will be fielded in 2022 to explore associations with American identity, figures and events in American history, connections to national holidays, aspirations for our shared future, and more.
The attitudes captured in the data show significant concerns around Americas future and its ability to live up to its ideals. The findings also reveal a wide spectrum of strength of attachment to American identity. Between the points of polarization, we see meaningful commonality in seeing the United States with nuance and humility, indicating the potential for American identity to help transcend conflict between groups and bridge lines of political division. Many Americans share the same family narratives, aspirations for the country, and support for various historic figures, events and holidays.