Just a fraction of Americans think U.S. democracy is working well

Just a fraction of Americans think U.S. democracy is working well

Americans are broadly worried about the state of our democracy, according to a new poll released from the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

A plurality of 45% of respondents say it’s either not working “too well” or not working “well at all,” according to the poll, while just 16% of Americans believe democracy is working “well” or “extremely well.” Another 38% are somewhere in between, saying it’s working “somewhat well.”

On a slightly brighter side, a majority of Americans (54%) are optimistic that the country has a bright future and its best days are yet to come, while 45% say the country’s best days are behind it. Those numbers have remained roughly stable since last fall, when the outlet asked the same question in October 2020.

Two-thirds of respondents also said Joe Biden was legitimately elected while 33% said he wasn’t; 61% also approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president.

Meanwhile, respondents widely shared the belief that the following principles are essential to the identity of the U.S.:

  • 88%, a fair judicial system and the rule of law
  • 85%, individual liberties and freedoms as defined by the Constitution
  • 83%, the ability of people living here to get good jobs and achieve the American dream
  • 80%, a democratically elected government

A separate poll from the ABC News/Ipsos found that 56% of Americans say Trump should be convicted and barred from holding office again, and 43% say he should not be. The finding comes on the eve of Trump’s impeachment trial and figures worse for him than polling from just before his last impeachment trial, when an ABC/Washington Post poll found 47% of Americans said the Senate should vote to convict Trump and remove him from office while 49% said he should not be removed from office.

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