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Republicans have suddenly become significantly more pessimistic towards democracy.



Fifty years ago, the United States was in crisis. American soldiers had been pulled out of South Vietnam, their efforts to repel communism in the country unsuccessful. President Richard M. Nixon had started his second term in office after winning a landslide victory, but hearings into the break-in at the Watergate complex were already underway. Within a year, Nixon would resign.

By 1977, though, the country had turned something of a corner. Jimmy Carter was president, with an approval rating north of 50 percent as measured by Gallup that November. The economy was still wobbly, though the country had emerged from recession. Most importantly, America had survived the test posed by the Nixon presidency.

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That same Gallup poll found that Americans were mostly satisfied with American democracy. Given a zero-to-10 scale, from extremely dissatisfied to extremely satisfied, most Americans rated our political system at 7 or above.

By 2022, YouGov polling found that only 3 in 10 Americans were that satisfied with our democracy. And in YouGov’s most recent polling, conducted last month, that had fallen to 2 in 10. (Some totals on the graph below exceed 100 percent because of rounding.)

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