Three in ten Americans now believe the nation’s system is fundamentally unsound, according to the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll. This number has increased from prior polls while one-third of the public continues to believe voter fraud determined the outcome of the 2020 election, a finding that has been consistent over the past year. A GOP-sponsored audit of Arizona election results did more to reinforce this belief than dispel it. The poll also finds that half of Americans support greater regulation of Facebook, with majority support among most groups – except for Republicans and independents who use the platform.
Fewer than half of all Americans believe that the American system of government is basically sound and needs either no changes (8%) or some improvement (35%). The combined 43% who feel the system is basically sound is nearly identical to 44% who said the same shortly after the U.S. Capitol riot in January. Polls over the prior three years had this number higher – between 50% and 55% basically sound. An older Opinion Research Corporation poll, from which this question was taken, showed faith in the system being sound at a significantly higher level in 1980 (62%).
In the current poll, 26% say the system is not too sound and needs many improvements. This is down from 33% in January, but the shift in opinion has resulted in more rather than less negative views. Specifically, 30% feel that the American system is not sound at all and needs significant changes. This number stood at 22% in January 2021 and ranged between 21% and 24% in polls taken between 2017 and 2020. Four decades ago, only 10% of the country said the American system was not at all sound.
“The increase of distrust in the American system appears to be linked to the persistence of ‘the big lie.’ The fact that this belief continues to get oxygen is having a serious, and potentially dangerous, impact on faith in our fundamental democratic processes,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.