Oct 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Just 9% of Americans think democracy is working extremely well

absentee ballot

Official absentee ballot. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

With the midterms rapidly approaching, a majority of Americans have a bleak outlook on the state of U.S. democracy and just under half expressed strong confidence that the midterm election results will be counted accurately.

Driving the news: A mere 9% of Americans believe that U.S. democracy is working "extremely" or "very well," according to a new poll released Wednesday from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

  • 37% of U.S. adults surveyed said U.S. democracy functioned "somewhat well," 52% said they believed the country's democracy was working "not at all" or "not too well."
  • Republicans were more likely than Democrats to say U.S. democracy is not working well.
  • Since the same poll was conducted in 2020, the number of Democrats expressing confidence in democracy has increased, while the number of Republicans saying so has decreased.

State of play: About 47% of Americans surveyed said they have a "great deal" or "quite a bit" of confidence in the results of next month's midterms will be counted accurately — an increase from 39% in 2020.

  • Democrats, at 74%, were far more confident that the results would be tallied accurately than Republicans, at 25%.

The big picture: Democrats and Republicans highlighted different problems facing U.S. elections.

  • About 77% of Democrats said gerrymandering is a "major problem," while 51% of Republicans agreed.
  • 51% of Democrats believed that voter suppression was a major problem, while just 23% of Republicans did.
  • And 58% of Republicans designated voter fraud as a major problem, compared to 18% of Democrats.

Methodology: This Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll was conducted Oct. 6-10 using the AmeriSpeak Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago.

  • This poll was conducted via online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones among a sample of 1,121 adults. The margin of sampling error is ±3.8 percentage points.
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