Losing Our “Government of the People…”

Americans think our government fails to achieve the ideal set forth by Abraham Lincoln.

Americans don’t think government represents them and works in their interest – a failure by lawmakers to meet the ideal Abraham Lincoln expressed in the Gettysburg Address of “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

  • What’s more, Americans believe it’s getting worse.  

BY THE NUMBERS – In a new poll, America’s New Majority Project asked voters if they agreed or disagreed that the United States today has a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

By a 55-41 margin, Americans disagreed.

  • 32% strongly disagreed
  • 23% somewhat disagreed
  • 26% somewhat agreed
  • 15% strongly agreed
  • 4% not sure

We also asked voters if the United States was moving closer to achieving that ideal or further away from achieving it.

By an even larger 72-23 margin, Americans said we are moving away from a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

  • 39% much further away from
  • 33% somewhat further away from
  • 17% somewhat closer to
  • 6% much closer to
  • 4% not sure

ZOOM IN – There were significant party and racial differences in responses, with Whites and Republicans more likely to disagree that the United States has a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”  

  • 60% of Whites disagreed compared to 36% of Blacks and 48% of Hispanics.
    • 56% of Black voters agreed – the only racial group to have majority agreement.
  • 67% of Republicans and Republican Leaners disagreed compared to just 41% of Democrats and Democrat Leaners.
    • Independents were more like Republicans, with 58% disagreeing.

Similar racial and partisan differences marked responses to the question about whether the U.S. was moving closer to or further away from “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

  • However, no group had a majority or plurality belief we were moving closer to this ideal.

ZOOM OUT – These results give more nuance to historically high levels of dissatisfaction with the direction of the country and our government institutions.

  • Given the differences in responses by Party and racial groups, there are likely many different reasons Americans are concerned about the U.S. government representing them and their interests. This is a rich topic for future research.

This poll of 1,200 Registered Voters for America’s New Majority Project was conducted by Scott Rasmussen from September 29-October 1, 2022