In the midst of all the other concerns Americans have had over the past few years, from the life-threatening COVID-19 pandemic, to supply chain shortages, keeping kids in school, to the war in Ukraine and rising gas prices, to inflation, a rising chorus of gun violence and school safety issues, it wouldn’t seem that worries about democracy would be at the top of our list.
But a new survey from NBC News conducted earlier this month and released Sunday, has identified that Americans are indeed worried about democracy. In fact, ‘Threats To Democracy’ topped “cost of living,” and “the economy” as the No. 1 issue facing America.
“For the first time ever,” said NBC’s Chuck Todd, “when asked what is the most important issue facing this country, the top answer was not an economic issue. It was threats to democracy — higher than cost of living or jobs or guns or even abortion.”
The poll found that 21 percent of respondents ranked threats to democracy as the most important issue, followed by 16 percent who indicated the cost of living and 14 percent who said jobs and the economy.
In a similar poll in May, “cost of living” was the No. 1 concern, while “threats to democracy” did not even make the list. Between May and August, Americans have shifted. Of the 21 percent who named “threats to democracy” as the nation’s most important problem, just over half, 53 percent, were Democrats. Thirty-two percent were Republicans, and 11 percent were independents.
Also according to this new poll, there was strong support for continued investigations into the actions of former President Donald Trump and his continued claims that he won the 2020 election.*
The NBC News poll found 57 percent of respondents agreed that investigations into potential wrongdoing by Trump should continue. That percentage breaks out as 92 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents, but only 21 percent of Republicans.
Half of those polled said Trump was solely or mainly responsible for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, a five-percentage-point gain since a similar poll in May, before the House Jan. 6 select committee began its series of public hearings.
It should be pointed out that one poll does not a trend make. But the fact that this has surfaced at all is a marker to be watched, and another sign of the uneasiness that has surrounded the preservation of the Rule of Law.
Editors Note: * Trump lost the election and more than 60 courts confirmed there was no voter fraud that would make a difference in the vote results. President Biden won the majority of the popular vote as well as the majority of the Electoral College votes.