Majority for first time says US system of government is not sound: poll

Greg Nash

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed in a new poll by Monmouth University said the American system of government was either “not too sound” or “not sound at all” and needed improvements or significant changes.

It’s the first time Monmouth has conducted the poll and found that a majority did not believe the current system of government is sound.

“Since Monmouth started asking this question in 2017, between 50% and 55% said the American system of government was basically sound and between 45% and 49% said it was unsound,” Monmouth University said in a statement. “This question was first asked in a national Opinion Research Corporation survey back in late 1980, when a clear majority of 62% of the public felt our system of government was sound while 37% said it was not.”

The percentage of people who believed the American system of government was “not too sound” jumped by nearly 10 percentage points from when the university conducted the poll in February of 2020. At that time, just 24 percent said the system was not too sound.

The findings come after a traumatic few months in the country in which former President Trump and his allies insisted without evidence that widespread fraud caused his loss in the presidential election. A series of court decisions and rulings by state officials ruled against the president, but his attacks on the process led millions to believe the election was stolen. 

The culminated in the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol, when hundreds of people overwhelmed Capitol Police and breached the building, briefly stopping the certification of the Electoral College results. 

In the Monmouth poll, 7 percent of those who said the system of government was sound said it needed “no changes” and 37 percent said it needed “some changes,” a 9-point drop among those who said it needed “some changes” from February of last year.

The majority of both Democrats and Republicans said the system of government was not sound. Monmouth University noted that this was a shift from last year when only 28 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Democrats felt this way.

“The increased lack of confidence in the American system is built on a foundation of partisan hostility. Those differences are no longer limited to views on policy. They now extend to an underlying distrust of our democratic institutions themselves. Partisan tribalism is coming home to roost in a way that threatens the very stability of our system,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, in a statement.

When asked how much they felt the American way of life is under threat, 79 percent of respondents said they felt it was, with 45 percent saying “a great deal” and 34 percent saying “some.”

The amount of those who felt the American way of life was under a threat “a great deal” dropped 4 percentage points from when the poll was conducted in September of 2019.

The poll was conducted from Jan. 21 to 24 with a sample size of 809 people over the age of 18.

Tags Donald Trump Monmouth University poll Public opinion U.S. government
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