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Monday, April 30, 2018

Views of Democracy and the Political System

Carroll Doherty at Pew reports on a survey of public views of the U.S. political system and American democracy.
About three-quarters of the public (76%) say it would be “too risky” to give presidents more power to deal directly with the nation’s problems. Just 21% support the view that problems could be better dealt with if presidents could worry less about Congress and the courts. Since 2016, Republicans have become less likely – and Democrats more likely – to say it would be too risky to give presidents more power. Still, large majorities in both parties (70% of Republicans and 83% of Democrats) oppose the idea of giving presidents more power.
In the past, Democrats were more likely than Republicans to have positive views of elected officials who make compromises, but that is no longer true. Today, nearly equal shares in both parties (46% of Democrats and 44% of Republicans) say “they like elected officials who make compromises with people they disagree with.” As recently as last year, Democrats were 23 percentage points more likely than Republicans to have positive views of elected officials who compromise.
 A large majority of the public (67%) says “their side” in politics has been losing more often than winning in recent years on issues that matter to them. As in the past, this sentiment is less pronounced among those who support the party in control of the White House than the party out of power. Even so, more Republicans and Republican-leaning independents feel like their side has been losing more often than winning (53% to 44%).
Two-thirds of those surveyed (67%) have a favorable opinion of their local government, compared with 35% for the federal government. In addition, nearly three-quarters (73%) say the quality of candidates running for local office in recent elections has been good; just 41% say the same about the quality of presidential candidates.