American Decline

Still miles apart: Americans and the state of U.S. democracy half a year into the Biden presidency

Brightline Watch

Bright Line Watch June 2021 surveys

As the country turns 245 years old, Americans have reasons to worry about the state of their democracy. In June 2021, we surveyed a representative sample of Americans and an expert sample of political scientists on the performance of U.S. democracy, the threats it faces, and how their political representatives should address these matters.1 We find deep partisan polarization in perceptions of what is right and wrong with American democracy and the steps that should be taken to fix it. In addition, experts express reservations about current changes to election law at the state level. Still, we find some signs that Americans regard partisan attacks on election administration with skepticism.

Our key findings are:

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