Venezuela is Second Most Proud Country

Venezuela came in a close second for having the most patriotism, according to the report from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

When it comes to national pride, Americans are No. 1 in the world, according to a survey of 34 countries released Tuesday.

Venezuela came in aclose second for having the most patriotism, according to the reportfrom the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.People rated how proud they were of their countries in areas such aspolitical influence, economic success, sports and history.

"The two things we(Americans) rank high on are what we think of as the political or powerdimension," said Tom W. Smith, who wrote the report and directs theGeneral Social Survey at the university’s research center. "Given thatwe’re the one world superpower, it’s not that surprising."

Patriotism is mostly a"New World" concept, the survey said. Ex-colonies and newer nationswere more likely to rank high on the list, while Western European, EastAsian and former Socialist countries usually ranked near the middle orbottom.

The report was basedon a survey in 34 countries conducted by the International SocialSurvey Program. People rated how proud they were of their countries in10 areas: political influence, social security, the way their democracyworks, economic success, science and technology, sports, arts andliterature, military, history, and fair treatment of all groups insociety.

The U.S. rankedhighest overall and in five categories: pride in its democracy,political influence, economy, science and military. Venezuela came insecond by ranking highest in sports, arts and literature, history, andfair treatment of all groups in society.

Eric Wingerter, aWashington D.C.-based spokesman for the Venezuelan government, said thecountry previously imported much of its television programming, moviesand pop music from the U.S., but that has changed under President HugoChavez’s leadership.

Many Venezuelans say Chavez has helped create a new sense of national pride, he said.

"There’s been a real emphasis on rediscovering what it means to be Venezuelan," he said.

The debate inVenezuela over Chavez, who makes headlines for nationalistic, anti-U.S.rhetoric, might account for the country’s No. 2 ranking, Smith said.

"We looked at, ‘Well,is it just the Chavez support, or is it the image of the country?’ andthey’re actually both high," Smith said.

Ireland came in at No. 3, followed by South Africa and Australia.

Cultural differencesmight explain lower rankings for the three Asian countries on thelist–Japan (18th), Taiwan (29th), and Korea (31), Smith said.

"It is both bad luck and poor manners to be boastful about things there," Smith said.

Countries that werepart of the former Soviet Union or in the former Eastern Bloc rankedlower because they’re still struggling to find new national identities,Smith said. Hungary was the highest Eastern European country on thelist at 21.