According to the latest New York Times/Siena poll, a healthy majority of Americans believe that democracy is under threat — and over half of those who believe democracy is at risk say the “mainstream media” presents a “major threat.”
The poll, which surveyed 792 registered voters between October 9 and October 12, asked respondents to select one of the two following statements as aligning closest to their views — even if they did not match exactly: American democracy is currently under threat (71%); American democracy is not currently under threat (21%).
The poll then directed the 71% who believed democracy was under threat in the United States to answer a few more specific questions about where they thought the greatest threats were coming from. The answers were as follows:
- Republicans: major threat — 28%; minor threat — 39%; not a threat — 29%
- Democrats: major threat — 33%; minor threat — 30%; not a threat — 34%
- Donald Trump: major threat — 45%; minor threat — 22%; not a threat — 31%
- Joe Biden: major threat — 38%; minor threat — 22%; not a threat — 37%
- Mainstream media: major threat — 59%; minor threat — 25%; not a threat — 15%
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Fewer of those polled believed Republicans in general presented a major threat (28%) compared to Democrats (33%), but more believed that former President Donald Trump presented a major threat (45%) compared to President Joe Biden (38%). But the mainstream media — with 59% of respondents calling it a major threat and an additional 25% calling it a minor threat — was ranked as the greatest danger to democracy among the listed options.
The poll also addressed a number of other issues, indicating as a number of others have that President Biden’s laser-like focus on abortion and climate change going into November’s midterm elections might result in a dramatic misfire.
Respondents to the NYT/Siena poll ranked major issues by importance, and abortion was fifth (4%) behind the economy (26%), inflation (19%), the state of democracy (7%) and immigration (5%). Climate change (3%) was ranked sixth, in a three-way tie with “Trump/Republicans” and crime.
The Democrats’ insistent focus on issues that voters have repeatedly ranked lower on their everyday list of concerns appears to be impacting the predictive polls as well, as the most recent prediction maps from RealClearPolitics show enough of a shift to flip control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate into Republican hands.