A new survey recently published by the Monmouth University Polling Institute has found that a majority of those Americans participating in the poll believe the US government system is “unsound” and needs “many,” if not “significant” improvements to become a well-oiled machine.
The survey found that 33% of polled participants were under the belief that the US system was “not too sound” and needed “many improvements,” whereas 22% agreed that the government was “not sound at all” and required “significant changes.” Compared to a similar study researchers conducted last year, those figures jumped by 9% and 1%, respectively.
Overall, the Monday-published survey concluded the percentage of individuals participating in the survey who believed the system was “unsound” spiked by 18% since the question was first asked to respondents in 1980, when the institute found that 62% of the public felt the government was working efficiently.
Officials also noted in their conclusions that the view that the American system was unstable “held similar majorities” when findings were broken down into political affiliations, such as Republicans (58%), Democrats (55%) and Independents (54%).
“Just one year ago, this view was marked by a sharp partisan divide, with only 28% of Republicans and 41% of independents saying it was not sound compared with 65% of Democrats,” reads a release issued by the pollsters.
When asked how respondents felt about policies being implemented by officials whose political affiliations were different from their own, 52% of participants said it would concern them “a great deal” and that the nation could “suffer lasting damage.”
Another 45% of Americans in the telephone poll agreed that they felt that the “American way of life” was under threat, as 34% said only “some” parts of the US lifestyle were under fire. Respondents were not asked what specific threats were perceived.
Regarding the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, only 19% of respondents said they were “very confident” that the newly sworn-in commander-in-chief could unify the country. Twenty-five percent of participants said they were “not at all confident.”
“There is an abiding belief by many Americans that ‘the other side’ is not just wrong in their approach, but could actually destroy this country. This was a fringe view a generation ago,” Patrick Murray, director of the institute, said in a statement accompanying the release. “The only thing we can agree upon is that we are fundamentally divided.”
“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,” he suggested.
The poll was conducted by telephone between January 21 and 24, with a sample size of 809 Americans over the age of 18. The results have a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.