President Ronald Reagan (Getty Images)

In his New York Times column, Charles M. Blow writes about a report issued on Thursday by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project that shows a decline in the number of Americans who say the United States is exceptional among nations.

Is America exceptional among nations? Are we, as a country and a people and a culture, set apart and better than others? Are we, indeed, the “shining city upon a hill” that Ronald Reagan described? Are we “chosen by God and commissioned by history to be a model to the world” as George W. Bush said?

This year, for the first time, most Americans did not say yes.

According to a report issued on Thursday by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, when Americans were asked if they agreed with the statement “our people are not perfect but our culture is superior to others,” only 49 percent agreed. That’s down from 60 percent in 2002, the first time that Pew asked the question.

Perhaps even more striking was that, among young people (those ages 18 to 29), the percentage of Americans who believed that their culture was superior was lower than young citizens of Germany, Spain and Britain.

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Even if you put aside the somewhat loaded terminology of cultural superiority, Americans simply don’t seem to feel very positive about America at the moment. A Time Magazine/Abt SRBI poll conducted last month found that 71 percent of Americans believed that our position in the world has been on the decline in the past few years.

Read Charles M. Blow's entire column at the New York Times.