US Democracy in Trouble? Half of Young Americans Polled Agree
The findings from the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy school's national poll of Americans aged 18 to 29 suggest that half of young Americans are concerned about democracy in their country.
The poll asked young Americans ten questions about the current and future state of America. The results show how concerned the respondents are about the state of the country, but also how Republicans and Democrats differ in their concerns.
“After turning out in record numbers in 2020, young Americans are sounding the alarm," IOP Polling Director John Della Volpe said in a statement. "When they look at the America they will soon inherit, they see a democracy and climate in peril - and Washington as more interested in confrontation than compromise.”
Of the 2,109 Americans surveyed
, 52% called the United States either a failed democracy or a democracy in trouble, 34% called it either healthy or somewhat functioning, and 13% simply did not know.
There was a significant discrepancy between young Republicans and Democrats over their view of the health of American democracy. Forty-five percent of young Democrats, compared to 70% of young Republicans, believe the United States is either a failed democracy or a democracy in trouble.
Another significant finding was that 35% of the young Americans polled believe that there is at least a 50% chance that a second civil war could occur during their lifetime, with 46% of the young Republicans believing that there is at least a 50% chance of a second civil war during their lifetime as opposed to 32% of young Democrats.
When it comes to American exceptionalism, the poll found that 31% of the participants believe America is the greatest country in the world, but 50% think there are greater or equal countries to the United States.
However, Democrats and Republicans had an inverse belief in their country’s standing in the world - 62% of Republicans believe that America is the greatest country on Earth, while 64% of Democrats believe there are greater countries or ones as great as the US.
One area in which young Democrats and Republicans participating in the survey showed significant overlap was in their willingness for politicians to compromise even if it means their preferred policy is not passed. Overall, 43% of those polled would prefer that elected officials meet in the middle. Forty-nine percent of young Democrats and 45% of young Republicans preferred compromise at the expense of their preferred political priorities.
The poll also touched on how the pandemic has affected young Americans, US President Joe Biden’s approval rating, what they define as a successful presidency, mental health and climate change, and the federal government’s response.