What Do Psychologists and Sociologists Know About Flag Waving

I have the impression that conspicuous display of the flag is more popular among republicans than among democrats.

For one thing I am wondering whether my impression is accurate, or if it’s not, whether there is some interesting explanation for my impression.

For another thing, assuming my impression is accurate, I am wondering about an explanation. Does anyone know if any psychologists or sociologists have chimed in on this, and if so, what they have said? Is everything said about this topic contentious, or are there known facts about its underlying causes?


Could you clarify “conspicuous display”? I mean, if you display the flag on a pole in front of your house that’s pretty conspicuous, but I’m not sure how one could “display” the flag less conspicuously.

Sociologist here… I don’t have a quick answer to the theoretical question here, but some data that might be relevent. I did a quick crosstab of General Social Survey data from 2004. (Site here: http://sda.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/hsda?harcsda+gss06.) I looked at two questions: political party affiliation and how proud the respondent is to be an American. I’ll list below the % of people in each party affiliation who are “very proud” to be an American:

Strong Democrat - 69.4
Democrat - 74.0
Independent, near Democrat - 62.7
Independent - 75.8
Independent, near Republican - 86.8
Republican - 89.9
Strong Republican - 94.4

This particular crosstab has a sample size of 1192. The GSS is nationally representative and all that. So, I’d say it’s pretty safe to say that Republicans are more into flag-waving than Democrats. (Assuming that flag-waving = national pride.)

Couldn’t that just be a function of the party in power in 2004?