Bright Line Watch survey questions, October 2018

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?

  • Normal
  • Mostly normal
  • Borderline normal
  • Mostly abnormal
  • Abnormal

Is this unim­por­tant or important?

  • Unimportant
  • Mostly unim­por­tant
  • Semi-important
  • Mostly important
  • Important

1. President Trump being impli­cat­ed as a co-con­spir­a­tor in his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s guilty plea
2. President Trump publicly feuding with Attorney General Jeff Sessions
3. A federal judge blocking the depor­ta­tion of families pre­vi­ous­ly separated under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy
4. President Trump threat­en­ing Canada with auto tariffs
5. President Trump proposing the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement
6. President Trump revoking the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan
7. President Trump repeat­ed­ly calling the press an “enemy of the people”
8. President Trump claiming the official death toll from Hurricane Maria was wrong and made up by Democrats to make him look bad
9. The Senate Judiciary Committee holding a hearing in which Christine Blasey Ford accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault
10. World leaders laughing at President Trump’s remarks during his United Nations speech
11. Judge Brett Kavanaugh being confirmed to the Supreme Court
12. President Trump calling the European Union a “foe”
13. President Trump saying the gov­ern­ment of Saudi Arabia was being treated as “guilty until proven innocent” in the death of jour­nal­ist Jamal Khashoggi
14. A White House advisor report­ed­ly removing a letter from President Trump’s desk to prevent him from with­draw­ing from a trade agreement with South Korea
15. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion proposing limits on the right to demon­strate near the White House and on the National Mall
16. President Trump inspect­ing damage from Hurricane Florence in Florida and Georgia
17. The Senate con­firm­ing Robert Wilkie as Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs
18. President Trump appoint­ing numerous judges to federal appeals courts
19. Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring from the Supreme Court
20. President Trump raising more than $100 million for his 2020 reelec­tion campaign
21. President Trump speaking at the Flight 93 National Memorial to com­mem­o­rate the 17th anniver­sary of the September 11 attacks
22. President Trump meeting with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera at the White House
23. President Trump threat­en­ing to support a gov­ern­ment shutdown if Congress does not approve funding for border security, including “the Wall”
24. President Trump holding rallies across the country to campaign for Republican Congressional candidates
25. President Trump meeting with Kanye West at the White House
26. President Trump praising a Montana congressman’s physical attack on a reporter

This item was added while the survey was fielding:

27. Explosive devices being sent to prominent Democrats and critics of President Trump