Americans broadly concur that democratic concepts and values are crucial for the United States when democracy is under increasing pressure around the globe. However, the majority believe that the nation falls far short of these objectives, according to a recent public opinion survey on the positive and negative qualities of the political system and democracy in the United States.
The public’s complaints about the political system cover a wide range, from the inability to hold elected people accountable to the absence of government transparency. And only a third of Americans believe that the statement “people agree on basic facts even if they differ politically” represents this nation today.
Some of the foundational components of American democracy are included in the apparent flaws. Only 47% of the public feel this describes the nation very or somewhat well; slightly more (53%) say it does not. However, a large majority of the public (84%) says it is vital that “the rights and liberties of all individuals are respected.”
Despite these complaints, most Americans agree that democracy functions well in the U.S. However, just a tiny minority say it is working exceptionally well. At the same time, there is widespread support for making significant changes to the political system: 61% believe that for the American government to function effectively in the modern era, “important changes” must be made to its fundamental “design and structure.”
The public’s opinions on how to alter the American political system are ambiguous, and no suggestions have garnered widespread support from both parties. However, both Republicans and Democrats express discontent with how many of the specific parts of the democratic system are functioning.
Undoubtedly, there are some advantages. Nearly as many Americans (73%) believe the term “people are free to demonstrate” accurately or fairly accurately peacefully reflects this nation, and a substantial majority of Americans (74%) say the military leadership in the U.S. does not publicly endorse one party over another.
However, in general, there is a startling discrepancy between the public’s expectations of American democracy and its assessments of whether those expectations are being met. Only eight of the 23 distinct metrics that evaluate democracy, the political system, and elections in the United States—each highly viewed by the public as being extremely important—show that majorities believe the nation is doing at least reasonably well.
Pew Research Center recently conducted an online study of the public’s perceptions of democracy and the political system from January 29 to February. Thirteen out of 4,656 adults. A survey performed between March 7 and 14 among 1,466 persons using landlines and cellphones was added to it.
Among the key conclusions were:
Mixed opinions on the political system’s structural changes. The polls look at several potential adjustments to American representative democracy. The majority of Americans oppose changing the Constitution to give populous states additional seats in the federal government. There is minimal support for increasing the size of the House of Representatives or the Senate. However, as in the past, a majority (55%) is in favor of altering the presidential election process such that the winner is determined by receiving the most votes nationwide as opposed to a majority in the Electoral College.
A majority of people claim that Trump doesn’t respect democratic institutions. Less than half of Americans (45%) believe Donald Trump respects the democratic institutions and traditions of the nation very much or reasonably well. In comparison, 54% believe he does not respect them at all. Deep partisan and ideological divisions exist about these points of view. Most liberal Democrats (60%) think Trump has “no respect” “at all” for these customs and institutions, while the majority of conservative Republicans (55%) say he has “great respect” for democratic institutions.