Americans’ ratings of the Supreme Court are now as negative as – and more politically polarized than – at any point in more than three decades of polling. And nearly two-thirds of Democrats (64%) now say the Supreme Court has too much power, almost three times the share who said this in August 2020 (23%).
Americans’ views of politics and elected officials are unrelentingly negative, with little hope of improvement on the horizon. 65% of Americans say they always or often feel exhausted when thinking about politics. By contrast, just 10% say they always or often feel hopeful about politics.
Public trust in government remains low, as it has for much of the 21st century. Only two-in-ten Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always” (2%) or “most of the time” (19%).
74% of Republicans say social media has been more of a bad thing for U.S. democracy, compared with a smaller majority of Democrats (57%).
Most think social media has made it easier to manipulate and divide people, but they also say it informs and raises awareness.
People in advanced and emerging economies have mixed feelings about social media’s impact on political life.
In recent years, several new options have emerged in the social media universe, many of which explicitly present themselves as alternatives to more established social media platforms. Free speech ideals and heated political themes prevail on these sites, which draw praise from their users and skepticism from other Americans.
65% say most political candidates run for office “to serve their own personal interests.”
Trust in scientists and medical scientists has fallen below pre-pandemic levels, with 29% of U.S. adults saying they have a great deal of confidence in medical scientists to act in the best interests of the public. This is down from 40% in November 2020 and 35% in January 2019, before COVID-19 emerged. Other prominent groups – including the military, police officers and public school principals – have also seen their ratings decline.
Today, 54% of U.S. adults say they have a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court, while 44% have an unfavorable view. And 84% say justices should not bring their political views into decisions.
The declining public trust in the news media and polarization of news audiences have profound effects on civic life.