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Expand chart
Data: SurveyMonkey online poll. Poll methodology; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios 

Just 51% of Americans said they have faith in the country's democracy, and 37% say they have lost faith in democracy, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll conducted in late October.

Why it matters: It suggests that recent political turmoil has caused people to doubt the very foundation of American society, particularly leading up to election day.

Since October 2016, just before the last presidential election, SurveyMonkey has tracked Americans' views toward American democracy.

What's happening: Despite the political turbulence over the past two years, Americans' faith in democracy has been relatively stable — with two exceptions.

  • Just before heading to the polls in 2016, 52% of voters had faith in democracy.
  • That number grew from pre-election numbers (by 8 percentage points) immediately following the election in November 2016 and in February 2017, after President Trump's inauguration.
  • One year ago, in October 2017, faith in democracy dropped by 7 percentage points and has held fairly steady since then.
  • The other half of Americans have either lost faith in democracy or never had faith in it to begin with, according to the poll.

The big picture: SurveyMonkey also found that half the country believes America is more divided today than ever before — and that these divisions will probably continue far into the future (ranging between 46% and 51% over the past two years).

  • About one-third of Americans agree America is more divided today, but are optimistic that Americans will come together in the near future.
  • 18% say America is not more divided today than it has been in the past.

Methodology: This survey was conducted Oct. 19–24 among 3,913 adults. Respondents were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

The modeled error estimate for the full sample of that survey is plus or minus 2 percentage points and full crosstabs are available here.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

New report hits DOJ over lack of police shooting data

Demonstrations followed the shooting of Dijon Kizzee by Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies in 2020. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

A new government accountability report says the Department of Justice failed to consistently publish an annual summary of police excessive force data from 2016 to 2020, as required by federal law.

Why it matters: The data is crucial for the DOJ to monitor excessive force cases, and used to investigate law enforcement agencies with patterns of abuse. The DOJ can pivot off it to pursue court action to force reforms.

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House will vote Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.

Biden's pick to lead major banking regulator drops out

Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, at a confirmation hearing on Nov. 18. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden's pick to head one of the country's most powerful banking regulators is dropping out of consideration for the post, according to a statement from Biden that accepted the withdrawal.

Why it matters: Saule Omarova, nominated to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, faced a tough path to confirmation — with opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.