AP poll finds bare confidence in government, elections

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Few Americans have much confidence in the U.S. political system, the government in general, or in either political party.

Most say they’re interested in the 2016 presidential election, but they also feel frustrated, helpless and even angry with the way the election is going, a poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows.

Democrats and Republicans alike feel down in the dumps about the election and about the political system in general.

Some things to know about Americans’ opinions on their government and the political system from the AP-NORC poll:


Few Americans have a lot of confidence in any of the branches of the government. Just 4 percent say they have a great deal of confidence in Congress, while 48 percent say they have only some and 46 percent have hardly any.

The other branches of government fare a little better, but still don’t inspire much confidence. Fifteen percent say they have a lot of confidence in the executive branch, 50 percent have some and 33 percent have hardly any. And 24 percent have a great deal of confidence in the Supreme Court, 58 percent have some confidence and 17 percent have hardly any.

On the other hand, 56 percent of Americans say they have a great deal of confidence in the military.

There are some partisan differences in Americans’ confidence in their government institutions. With a Democrat occupying the White House, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to express a great deal of confidence in the executive branch, 24 percent to 6 percent. And about 7 in 10 Republicans, but just under half of Democrats, have a great deal of confidence in the military.


Few Americans have positive things to say about the 2016 presidential election.

Seven in 10 Americans describe themselves as frustrated with the 2016 presidential election, while more than half, including majorities in both parties, say they’re angry.

Only 23 percent say they’re excited about the election, while 37 percent feel hopeful. Just 13 percent say they’re proud.

Still, Americans can’t seem to turn away. About two-thirds say they’re interested in the presidential election, and just 3 in 10 say they’re bored.

At the same time, 55 percent, including majorities from both political parties say they feel helpless about the election.

About half of voters age 45 and over, but two-thirds of those under 30, say they feel helpless.


Just 10 percent say they have a great deal of confidence in the political system overall, the AP-NORC poll finds, while 51 percent have only some confidence and 38 percent say they have hardly any. About one-quarter say they have hardly any confidence that their votes will be counted accurately, while close to 4 in 10 say they have only some confidence.

Only 13 percent of Americans say they think the two-party political system in the U.S. works fairly well, while 38 percent say it’s seriously broken. An additional 49 percent say the system has real problems, but with some improvements it can still work.

Neither political party inspires much confidence, either. Just 8 percent say they have a great deal of confidence in the Republican Party and 15 percent say that about the Democratic Party. Just 29 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of Republicans have a great deal of confidence in their own political parties.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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