SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — As San Diegans gear up for the Fourth of July, a new Gallup Poll puts American patriotism at a nearly 20-year low.
The poll blames the country's sharply polarized political climate.
It found that 45 percent of those polled were "extremely proud" to be American, while 70 percent said they were "proud."
"Patriotism isn't something that you can force," said David Povlick, who was visiting downtown San Diego Wednesday. "It's something that people have to feel. I think it's being forced right now, and so that makes people rebel a bit."
Still, the heart of the city was filled with American flags and people sporting USA apparel the day before the Fourth of July.
Mike Ismail, who owns Alamo Flags in SeaPort Village, gives out thousands of free American flags for the holiday each year. Ismail said he has visited many countries around the world, making him even more proud to be an American.
Ismail said the holiday is above politics.
"We're all united as one, it should be all that way," he said. "Democrat, Republican, all that aside, we're all American, that's what it's all about."
Gallup says 22 percent of Democrats said they were extremely proud to be American, while 76 percent of Republicans shared that sentiment.