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A Majority of Americans Hold Negative Views on US Democracy, Reveals an AP-NORC Poll

by Michael Nguyen
6 comments
American Democracy Dissatisfaction

A recent survey from The Big Big News-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that roughly one in ten US adults view the country’s democracy favorably, concerning its functioning and representation of American interests.

The majority of adults in the poll believe that US laws and policies inadequately represent the desires of the general populace on a wide range of issues, from economic and governmental expenditure, to topics such as gun control, immigration, and abortion. The survey indicates that 53% of participants are unsatisfied with Congress’s efforts to uphold democratic values, with a mere 16% believing that Congress is doing well in this regard.

These results underscore the high levels of political disenchantment as the nation, divided and fraught with political polarization, attempts to recover from the pandemic amidst an atmosphere of economic inflation and impending recession fears. Respondents seemed less concerned about the mechanics of democracy, like voting laws and ballot counting, but more focused on the resultant policies.

Nearly half of the respondents (49%) felt that democracy is not functioning well in the United States, compared to 10% who believe it’s working very or extremely well, and 40% who feel it is working somewhat well. About half also said that both political parties are failing in upholding democracy, with 47% targeting the Democrats and a higher percentage (56%) blaming the Republicans.

Michael Brown, a 45-year-old worker’s compensation adjuster from Bristol, Connecticut, expressed disappointment with both parties, citing the state of the economy and inflation as pressing concerns. A moderate Republican, Brown has been disillusioned with American democracy since high school, particularly with the Electoral College system. He feels that the current preoccupations of Congress are not aligned with the people’s needs.

The poll highlights that 53% of Americans believe the government does not adequately represent “people like them,” with 35% feeling somewhat well represented, and just 12% feeling very or extremely well represented. More Republicans and independents (6 in 10) than Democrats (4 in 10) feel underrepresented by the government.

For Karalyn Kiessling, a University of Michigan researcher, the problem is not just voting. She points out the importance of political activism and local government participation as key aspects of democratic engagement. However, she notes that increased partisan hostility might be discouraging people from participating in these essential activities.

The poll also revealed that 71% of Americans think the desires of most citizens should significantly influence the creation of laws and policies, but only 48% believe this is the reality. When it comes to specific issues, around two-thirds of adults think policies on immigration, government spending, abortion, and gun control don’t reflect the views of most Americans, with similar sentiments held about policies on the economy, gender identity, and LGBTQ+ issues. Over half also feel the same about health care and environmental policies.

Despite these stark findings, some citizens, like Stanley Hobbs, a retired autoworker from Detroit, remain hopeful. He sees the current crisis as a challenge that Americans have faced and overcome before.

This poll, conducted from June 22-26, involved 1,220 adults and used a sample from NORC’s AmeriSpeak Panel. The panel is designed to reflect the US population, with a margin of sampling error for all respondents being plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about American Democracy Dissatisfaction

What does the recent AP-NORC poll reveal about Americans’ view of democracy?

The poll reveals that about one in ten US adults view the country’s democracy positively, concerning its functioning and representation of American interests. Majority of adults feel that US laws and policies do not adequately represent the desires of the general population on a wide array of issues.

What are the key issues that Americans believe are not adequately represented by US laws and policies?

According to the poll, Americans believe that policies related to the economy, government spending, gun control, immigration, and abortion, among others, are not reflective of the desires of the majority of the population.

What percentage of Americans believe that Congress is failing to uphold democratic values?

53% of participants in the survey expressed dissatisfaction with Congress’s efforts to uphold democratic values, while only 16% believe that Congress is doing well in this regard.

Do Americans believe that the political parties are upholding democracy?

According to the poll, about half of the respondents feel that both political parties are failing in upholding democracy, with 47% blaming the Democrats and a higher percentage (56%) targeting the Republicans.

What does the poll say about the representation of citizens’ views in government?

The poll indicates that 53% of Americans feel the government does not adequately represent “people like them”. More Republicans and independents feel underrepresented by the government compared to Democrats.

What are Americans’ thoughts on the influence of citizens’ desires on law and policy creation?

71% of Americans believe that the desires of the majority should significantly influence law and policy creation. However, only 48% believe that this is the reality. When it comes to specific issues, the majority feel that current policies do not reflect the views of most Americans.

Who conducted this poll and how many people participated?

The poll was conducted by The Big Big News-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and involved 1,220 adults.

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6 comments

JohnDoe2023 July 15, 2023 - 9:53 am

its all political games in DC, regular folks like us don’t matter to them! this poll just proves it.

Reply
Political_Geek July 15, 2023 - 10:31 am

well no wonder, with the way things are. But remember, we are the democracy. If we want change, it’s on us.

Reply
EconWiz July 15, 2023 - 4:29 pm

The economy, stupid! Its always the economy. When it’s good, everyone’s happy. When it’s bad, even democracy doesn’t look so hot.

Reply
Mike78 July 15, 2023 - 9:45 pm

wow, only 1 in 10 thinks democracy’s workin? Thats kinda scary tbh. what are we doin wrong?

Reply
AnneBeliever July 16, 2023 - 1:02 am

Hold on guys! Remember, this is just a snapshot in time. It might look bad now, but we’ve been through worse and come out stronger.

Reply
SarahJane July 16, 2023 - 2:09 am

Ugh, this is so depressing. I knew things were bad, but not this bad. We gotta do something, like now!

Reply

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