PRESS RELEASE: New Research Shows Most Voters Say American Democracy Faces ‘Very Serious Threats,’ and Access to Trusted News and Information is the Way Forward

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The national voter survey and focus groups, commissioned by More Perfect, explored voter opinions on the concerns, health and improvement of democracy.
The national voter survey and focus groups, commissioned by More Perfect, explored voter opinions on the concerns, health and improvement of democracy.

The national voter survey and focus groups, commissioned by More Perfect, explored voter opinions on the concerns, health and improvement of democracy.

WASHINGTON, November 4, 2022 – A new nonpartisan More Perfect poll shows that 86% of voters say our democracy faces very serious threats, with a nearly equal split among Democrats and Republicans. Yet, despite bitter partisan division in the country, nearly half of all voters (47%) believe that increased access to trusted news and information is one of the most important ways to improve democracy, ranking it as first or second most important. However, among the options tested, voters have the least confidence that the U.S. could achieve this.

“American voters are worried about the health of our democracy at a time of national division,” said John Bridgeland, CEO of More Perfect. “Encouragingly, they share strong views of what could help.”

These findings echo similar concerns from bipartisan leaders, including President Biden on Wednesday, as we approach the midterm elections. The survey and focus groups provide further insights into beliefs, concerns and hopes for our democracy that could guide through the uncertain election aftermath. Other key findings of the research include:

  • 72% of American voters rate the health of American democracy as poor and many agree these are extremely concerning: too much money in politics (64%), political corruption (61%), and too much biased information and misinformation (58%).
  • Voters largely agree on the most important elements of our democracy, including that elections are secure (78% saying extremely important among all voters, 77% Dem., 82% Rep.) and respect for the rule of law (74% all, 77% Dem., 74% Rep.).

    Yet we see some partisan division on elections being accessible to voters (73% all, 86% Dem., 61% Rep.) and even more on accepting election losses with a peaceful transfer of power (62% all, 85% Dem., and 41% Rep.).

    Most voters agree that the country is not doing well on these elements.
  • Aside from access to trusted information, there are other ways Americans say our democracy could be improved, including:

    43% of voters say boosting civic learning is one of the most important ideas, and 65% have confidence it could be achieved,

    42% of voters say building confidence in elections is one of the most important ideas, and 63% have confidence it could be achieved,

    40% say efforts to bridge differences in backgrounds and beliefs is one of the most important ideas, and 45% have confidence it could be achieved,

    29% say voluntary national service (such as tutoring students, cleaning up rivers and parks, and building homes for the needy) is one of the most important ideas, and 45% have confidence it could be achieved.

The survey was conducted by David Binder Research from October 8 through October 11, 2022, with a sample of 600 adults who have voted in the 2016 presidential election or any election since. It was supplemented by focus group sessions in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida.

About More Perfect

More Perfect is a national campaign to marshal energy, visibility, resources and results around six Sustainable Democracy Goals: universal civic learning, expanded service to the nation, bridging divides, fair elections, effective governance, and trust in accurate news and information. More Perfect is a campaign among nine Presidential Centers, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Karsh Institute for Democracy at the University of Virginia, and more than 100 organizations working to protect and renew American democracy.

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