One half of young Americans in new poll say democracy in US is ‘in trouble’ or has ‘failed’

An American flag flies on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol
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A national poll of people ages 18 to 29 found that most young Americans said that they believed the county’s democracy is either “in trouble” or has “failed.”

Specifically, 52 percent of respondents said that they held these beliefs, including 39 percent who said that the U.S. is a “democracy in trouble” and 13 percent who said that the country is a “failed democracy,” the poll from the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School released on Wednesday found.   

Twenty-seven percent of the respondents said that they viewed the country as “somewhat functioning democracy,” and just 7 percent said that the U.S. is a “healthy democracy.”

When considering the results along party lines, more Republicans viewed the state of democracy in the country as in trouble or failed than did Democrats or unaffiliated young people, the survey found. 

A total of 70 percent of Republicans said that they held this view, including 47 percent who said that the U.S. democracy is in trouble and 23 percent who said that it has failed. Among Democrats, 45 percent said that the country’s democracy is in trouble or has failed, and 51 percent of independent and unaffiliated young people had the same responses.

In terms of President Biden’s approval rating among young people, 46 percent of young Americans who took part in the survey said that they viewed him favorably, marking a 13-point drop since a poll published in April from the same organization. Forty-four percent said that they viewed him unfavorably in the new survey.

The latest survey was conducted Oct. 26-Nov. 8 and included 2,109 18- to 29-year-olds. The margin of error for the poll was 3 percentage points.

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