A new poll conducted by Ipsos, on behalf of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, looks at American views of the current state of the democratic system. While the Constitution created the three branches of government to be equal, only slightly more than a third (35%) of Americans think the Presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court have the same amount of power. Of the three branches, Americans are most likely to consider the Supreme Court the most powerful (22%), closely followed by Congress (20%), and lastly, the Presidency (17%).
Americans think the peaceful handover of power after elections and both parties respecting the results of elections (both 91%) are essential for American democracy, with broad agreement across party lines. Four in five also believe that the two-term limit for the president is essential (79%), with Independents (87%) more likely than Democrats or Republicans (both 78%) to say this. While nearly two-thirds of Americans (62%) think the president’s ability to veto legislation passed by Congress is essential for our democracy to work well, views are highly split by partisanship. Four in five Republicans (83%) agree with this, while only 61% of Independents and half of Democrats (49%) say the same. One third or fewer Americans think lifetime appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court (33%) and the filibuster in the Senate (30%) are essential for the healthy functioning of American democracy.