75 percent of Americans think democracy is under attack
Three-quarters of American voters believe “democracy is under attack” – with worries about violence being the biggest threat, according to a new survey by Georgetown University.
Majorities agreed that six different factors threaten democracy, but only one received overwhelming support: 74 percent believe concerns about violent behavior is an “extremely” or “very” serious threat to democracy. Other concerns include a lack of civility, biased news and election denialism.
“It’s clear that Americans are united in their belief that democracy is facing a serious stress test right now,” said Mo Elleithee, executive director of the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, which conducted the Battleground Poll. “But understanding how partisanship and news consumption drives very different narratives of why democracy is under assault, is critical to our understanding of how we can restore trust in our institutions.”
The 75 percent who think democracy is under attack includes healthy majorities from across the political spectrum, with 80 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents agreeing.
Aside from violence, respondents identified a number of other elements that have contributed to the threats against democracy:
- Biased news coverage (67 percent).
- Candidates refusing to accept election results (63 percent).
- Lack of respect and civility in politics (63 percent).
- Voter suppression and intimidation (63 percent).
- A social media echo chamber (62 percent).
- Voter fraud (49 percent).
- “Woke” culture (44 percent).
While respondents across political lines agreed that news coverage favoring a particular party is a problem, that view was held most strongly by Republicans (76 percent, compared to 59 percent of Democrats). The numbers were slightly higher among people who regularly watch CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
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While candidates denying election rights scored highly, that result was carried by Democrats (83 percent of whom said it is an extremely or very serious concern). Only 42 percent of Republicans agreed. The split was similar for voter suppression, with 81 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of Republicans identifying it as a serious concern.
Unsurprisingly, the rates are reversed on voter fraud (71 percent among Republicans and 29 percent among Democrats) and woke culture (71 percent/20 percent),
Americans overwhelmingly (90 percent) believe that violence is never justified to advance policy positions or partisan advantages. And nearly as many (86 percent) say political leaders’ primary goal should be to find common ground.
The GU Politics Battleground Civility Poll of 800 registered voters was conducted Nov. 12-17 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.
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