Significantly fewer Americans say US system of government is sound: poll

The U.S. Capitol is seen from the East Front Plaza on Monday, June 27, 2022.
Greg Nash
The U.S. Capitol is seen from the East Front Plaza on Monday, June 27, 2022.

A little more than 1 in 3 Americans currently believe the U.S. system of government is sound, a figure that has declined significantly over the past few years, according to a new survey from Monmouth University Poll.

The poll found that just 6 percent of respondents said the system of government is basically sound and essentially needs no changes, while an additional 30 percent said it was basically sound but needs some improvement. 

The combined 36 percent is a decline from when the pollster previously asked the question in February 2020.

Fifty-five percent during that time described the American system of government as basically sound, and that figure fell to 44 percent in 2021 a few weeks after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Meanwhile, 26 percent said the country’s system of government is not too sound and needs many improvements, while 36 percent said the government is not sound at all and needs significant changes.

The poll found the recent decline of faith in the American system has come at varying rates among different partisan groups.

The share of Republicans who said the system is sound plummeted from 71 percent in early 2020 to 41 percent once President Biden took office and has since remained steady, while the decline among independents has been more gradual, according to the poll.

Democrats saw a brief increase in faith when Biden took office, jumping from 34 percent to 45 percent, but the figure has since fallen back to 36 percent.

“There’s more than just partisanship at work in declining faith in the institutional framework of American democracy,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

“Yes, electoral outcomes play a role,” he said. “Yes, the current economic crisis plays a role. But attacks on our fundamental democratic processes – and the lack of universal condemnation of those attacks by political leaders from both sides of the aisle – have taken a toll.”

The newest measure comes as inflation has reached a 40-year high with the vast majority of the public polled consistently indicating they believe the country is on the wrong track.

The Monmouth poll was conducted by telephone from June 23 to 27. The pollster interviewed 978 U.S. adults and the results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Tags American democracy Biden Monmouth University Monmouth University poll Poll
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