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Just 16% of Americans believe democracy is working ‘very well,’ poll shows

Andrew Trunsky, DCNF

Just 16% of Americans believe that democracy is working well or extremely well, according to an Associated Press poll.

While 38% of Americans believe that democracy is functioning “somewhat well,” 45% believe that it is working either “not too well” or “not well at all,” according to the poll. The findings follow months of baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 while Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s victory.

Former President Donald Trump was impeached for the second time following the Capitol riot on a charge that he helped incite the insurrection, and his Senate trial is set to begin on Tuesday. Forty-seven percent of Americans think the Senate should convict Trump and bar him from office, according to a separate AP poll.

Overwhelming majorities of both Democrats and Republicans said that democracy was not functioning well, the poll showed, but there was less confidence among Republicans. Though 22% of Democrats said that democracy was functioning well or extremely well, only 10% of Republicans said the same.

While the metrics were not staunchly different than before November’s election, there is evidence that Trump’s attacks on the election and its legitimacy resonated among Republicans. Sixty-eight percent said that democracy was working at least somewhat well in October, but that figure crashed to just 36% in January, according to the AP.

And though approximately two-thirds of Americans see Biden as the legitimately elected president, only one-third of Republicans said that they shared that view.

Biden campaigned on a pledge to unite the country and restore democratic ideals, and 70% of those surveyed said that Biden supported democratic institutions at least a fair amount. Only 37% said the same for Trump.

Biden’s administration was also quick to condemn military leaders who staged a coup in Myanmar last week and Russia’s jailing of Alexi Navalny, a pro-democracy opposition leader.

But despite the figures regarding confidence in American democracy, the poll did show some optimistic trends. Eighty-eight percent of Americans said that a fair and impartial judicial system was critical for the country’s success, and 85% said the same about individual liberties and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

Additionally, 49% of Americans said that they believed that the United States was on the right track, according to the poll, up from 37% in December, 25% in October and just 20% last summer, according to the AP.

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