Representing the first time falling below 50%, a majority of Americans don’t believe the nation’s system of government is sound, according to the most recent Monmouth University Poll.
The poll, released just ahead of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the U.S. Senate, identified a partisan divide, with a majority of Americans concerned the country would face lasting damage if the opposite group’s policies were put in place.
Democrats argued a lack of compromise was the root problem in Washington, while Republican counterparts felt too few officials were willing to stand firm. Overall, just 44% of respondents thought the system of government was basically sound.
Unity in Views of Division
Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike agreed on one thing: America was divided. Seventy-five percent of respondents noted the country was greatly divided on its most important values.
“The only thing we can agree upon is that we are fundamentally divided,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Additionally, 62% of Republicans and 54% of Democrats expressed concern regarding lasting damage in the country if the opposing political party took power, with 45% of Independents reporting the same.
“There is an abiding belief by many Americans that ‘the other side’ is not just wrong in their approach, but could actually destroy this country,” commented Murray. “This was a fringe view a generation ago.”
Tepid Belief in Unity Under Biden
A majority of the nation had some confidence that President Joe Biden had the ability to unify the country, but there wasn’t overwhelming belief it would happen.
Most Americans were either very (19%) or somewhat (37%) confident President Biden would be able to unify the nation, compared with 18% who were not too confident and 25% who were not confident at all.
More people argued those who were not willing to compromise, at 55%, than those who thought there was a lack of conviction among elected officials. Only 44% argued the problems in government were because elected officials were unwilling to stand up for their principles.
Looking to the next year, 37% felt the country would be more united, compared to the 31% reported just after the November 2020 election and the 21% that felt that way in 2018.