Dec 4, 2019

Pew: More Republicans than Democrats support expanding presidential power

The president's podium
The president's podium. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

26% of Americans agree that presidents could more effectively address the country's problems if they did not have to worry about Congress or the courts, a Pew poll found. Of the 26%, a simple majority identified as Republican.

Why it matters: The share of Republicans who believe presidents could be more effective if they did not have to consider the other branches of government has increased 16 percentage points since last year, from 27% to 43%.

By the numbers: Democrats’ views on expanding executive power has not significantly changed over the past year. 82% of Democrats said it would be too risky to give presidents more power, while just 16% said presidents would be more effective without Congress and the courts.

  • Overall, 66% of those surveyed said it's too risky to give presidents more power, down from 76% in 2018. This means the public overall is more open to giving the executive more power.

Of note: Both parties' opinions about presidential power shifted after Donald Trump’s election. The share of Democrats who said it would be too risky to give presidents more power shifted from from 66% in 2016 to 82% in 2019.

  • The share of Republicans who said it would be dangerous fell from 82% in 2016 to 51% in 2019.

Methodology: This survey is based on telephone interviews conducted between July 10-15, 2019, among 1,502 adults, 18 years of age or older, and has a margin of error of +/- 3%.

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