How important are these characteristics for democratic government?
- Not relevant. This has no impact on democracy
- This enhances democracy, but is not required for democracy
- If this is absent, democracy is compromised
- A country cannot be considered democratic without this
How well do the following statements describe the United States as of today?
- The U.S. does not meet this standard
- The U.S. partly meets this standard
- The U.S. mostly meets this standard
- The U.S fully meets this standard
1. Elections are conducted, ballots counted, and winners determined without pervasive fraud or manipulation
2. All adult citizens have equal opportunity to vote
3. Voter participation in elections is generally high
4. Elections are free from foreign influence
5. The geographic boundaries of electoral districts do not systematically advantage any particular political party
6. All votes have equal impact on election outcomes
7. Parties and candidates are not barred due to their political beliefs and ideologies
8. All adult citizens enjoy the same legal and political rights
9. Government does not interfere with journalists or news organizations
10. Government effectively prevents private actors from engaging in politically-motivated violence or intimidation
11. Government protects individuals’ right to engage in unpopular speech or expression
12. Government protects individuals’ right to engage in peaceful protest
13. Government officials are legally sanctioned for misconduct
14. Government officials do not use public office for private gain
15. Government agencies are not used to monitor, attack, or punish political opponents
16. Even when there are disagreements about ideology or policy, political leaders generally share a common understanding of relevant facts
17. Executive authority cannot be expanded beyond constitutional limits
18. The legislature is able to effectively limit executive power
19. The judiciary is able to effectively limit executive power
20. The elected branches respect judicial independence
21. Elected officials seek compromise with political opponents
22. Political competition occurs without criticism of opponents’ loyalty or patriotism
23. Information about the sources of campaign funding is available to the public
24. Public policy is not determined by large campaign contributions
25. Citizens can make their opinions heard in open debate about policies that are under consideration
26. Citizens have access to information about candidates that is relevant to how they would govern
27. Law enforcement investigations of public officials or their associates are free from political influence or interference
These questions about topical issues and events build on a similar survey conducted by the New York Times Upshot blog in 2017, on which we collaborated.
Is this normal or abnormal?
- Mostly normal
- Borderline normal
- Mostly abnormal
Is this unimportant or important?
- Mostly unimportant
- Mostly important
1. Sean Spicer exaggerating the crowd size at President Trump’s inauguration.
2. President Trump leaving the position of director of the Office of Science Technology and Policy vacant for 19 months.
3. President Trump and his aides discussing highly sensitive papers in public at Mar-a-Lago.
4. President Trump presiding over the longest government shutdown ever.
5. President Trump saying the Soviets were justified in invading Afghanistan in 1979.
6. President Trump attempting to revoke the press credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta and deny him access to White House.
7. President Trump tweeting that he has the absolute right to pardon himself.
8. President Trump publicly criticizing NFL athletes who took a knee during the national anthem on live television to protest the treatment of people of color by police and the criminal justice system.
9. President Trump refusing to release his tax returns.
10. President Trump defending participants in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA, saying there were “very fine people on both sides.”
11. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigning at the request of President Trump.
12. President Trump visiting California to tour the devastation caused by wildfires.
13. President Trump calling Saudi Arabia an ally in the wake of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.
14. President Trump retweeting an image calling for his political opponents to be imprisoned for treason.
15. President Trump canceling a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Moscow’s capture of Ukrainian ships and sailors.
16. President Trump signing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
17. Michael Cohen pleading guilty to lying to Congress in relation to the Mueller Russian investigation.
18. The Supreme Court ruling that the Trump administration is allowed to limit military service by transgender people.
19. President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attending the funeral of former president George H.W. Bush.
20. President Trump announcing that US troops will be returned from Syria without consulting with his aides, officials, or allies.
21. President Trump taking calls in the White House for the NORAD Santa Tracker and questioning a seven-year-old’s belief in Santa.
22. James Mattis resigning as the Secretary of Defense.
23. President Trump postponing Nancy Pelosi’s planned trips to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan by withdrawing permission for the Speaker of the House to use US military aircraft.
24. President Trump deploying thousands of troops to the southern US border as midterm elections approach.
25. Nancy Pelosi uninviting President Trump from delivering his State of the Union in Congress until the government shutdown is over.
26. President Trump calling the press an “enemy of the people.”
27. President Trump declaring a national emergency to secure funding for his border wall.