The U.S. has rallied behind Britain in the wake of the recent death of its queen, Elizabeth II. Polling conducted by YouGov shortly after her death shows that while Americans deeply admire the late monarch, they would rather not have a monarch of their own here in the U.S. While most see an ideological symmetry between the two countries, Americans still view the U.S. as superior in some respects, and very few regret our country's decision to declare independence from our former colonizer.
While the vast majority of Americans view Queen Elizabeth II favorably, few see the monarchy as a system they'd like the U.S. to emulate. Two-thirds of Americans (67%) say it would be bad for the U.S. to have a monarchy; only 8% say it would be good, and 12% say it would be neither good nor bad. And Americans' views of the monarchy's political role are different than British people's: Americans are more likely to say it's appropriate (34%) than inappropriate (26%) for a monarch to publicly express political opinions. In the UK, it is considered inappropriate.
Even as most Americans view Britain as a friend or ally, few (5%) have regrets about seeking independence from British rule in order to establish our own nation. This is tied in with broader American views of British treatment of colonies Only one in four Americans (27%) say that throughout history, the British government treated people in their colonies fairly. Far more – 46% – say they treated them unfairly. (About U.S. treatment of its territories, 40% say they were treated fairly and 42% say unfairly). At the same time, Americans are divided as to whether countries that were colonized by Britain are better or worse off as a result of it: 24% say they're better off, while 25% say they're worse off.
How similar do Americans think the U.S. and the UK are in terms of their thinking on the world? In April 1947 a poll by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) asked Americans whether or not the United States and England had the same general ideas on most world problems: 53% said they did and 35% said they did not. Today, Americans are somewhat more inclined to think the two countries think similarly. When we asked the NORC question —replacing "England" with "the United Kingdom" and asking adult citizens instead of all adults — we found that 56% of Americans now say the two countries have the same general ideas, while 22% say they are different.
The poll also asked Americans to compare the two countries across 10 different metrics. Among those asked about, there is consensus that the U.S. has an edge in a few domains: More than half believe the U.S. surpasses the UK in terms of being a global superpower, political polarization, and diversity. More say the U.S. than the UK when it comes to which country is more democratic, stronger economically, a better place to live, and has a superior political system. The UK only beats out the U.S. on three items: having a better education system, a more interesting culture, and a longer life expectancy.
- Carl Bialik contributed to this article
This poll was conducted on September 13 - 15, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this poll.
Image: Getty (Ty Wright)