Here’s a Fourth of July buzzkill for you: Red-blooded, freedom-loving Americans aren’t quite as fired up as they used to be. They still love their freedom, they just don’t think they have as much of it as they used to. While this may sound like a Fox News “fact,” a new Gallup poll out this week shows we’re a bit bummed about our buffet of options these days.
Gallup asked people in more than 120 countries: “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?” 79 percent of Americans said they were “satisfied”—down from 91 percent in 2006—which gives the U.S. a global ranking of 36 when it comes to perceived freedom. Gallup points out several potential reasons for the decline, including the economy and government corruption. “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 Gallup report reads.
“Your freedom to choose what you do with your life,” of course, is a broad and complex question. “Freedom” also appears to be relative a relative concept. While the U.S. checked in at 36 in the world, both the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan—two countries not particularly known for their personal freedom-loving ways—both ranked in the top ten of countries most satisfied with their freedom to live their lives as they choose.