Most Americans Want Political Reform. So Do Citizens in Other Countries.

The deep political polarization in the United States is frequently pointed to as a cause for the gridlock among federal and state lawmakers. But a study published on Thursday shows one area of agreement: a call for substantial political reform that transcends political party affiliation.

Those views are, in fact, shared in many democracies around the world, according to the survey from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center that asked respondents’ views on democracy and political, economic and health care reform.

A median of 56% of people in the 17 economies surveyed say they believe their political system needs major changes or complete reform. The sentiments are strongest in Italy, Spain, the U.S., South Korea, Greece, France, Belgium and Japan, where at least 2 out of 3 people surveyed called for major or complete reform to their country’s political system.

Among all people surveyed in the 17 economies, fewer than 3 in 10 say their political system needs no change.

Among some of the survey’s significant findings:

— In six countries — the U.S., Italy, Spain, Greece, France and Japan — discontent with the status quo is particularly high. More than half of people surveyed in those countries want major or complete reform to their political, economic and health care systems.

— Perceptions of partisan divisions — in the U.S. and South Korea, 9 out of 10 surveyed see conflict between people from different political parties — are linked to poor views of democracy and calls for political reform.

— In another six countries — Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand — the desire for reform is relatively low.

The findings are particularly compelling in the U.S., where 88% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents and 83% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in the Pew survey say they support major or complete political reform.

The survey results are published amid a climate of heightened polarization around the world but especially in the U.S. Since the 2020 U.S. presidential elections, Since the 2020 presidential elections, state lawmakers have been pushing gerrymandered voting districts that bolster their political power, as well as rewriting election laws to make it more difficult to vote.

Additionally, a growing body of recent research shows political polarization is growing in democracies around the world.

In the Pew survey, respondents’ views about democracy were more positive. A median of 57% say they are satisfied with how democracy is working, but those views varied across the 17 democracies. Those respondents who said they were dissatisfied with democracy were more likely to say their political system needs at least major changes.

The survey found that attitudes about democracy and political reform were at least in part shaped by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy and social and political divides. Recently published research shows the pandemic has weakened the rule of law around the world.

The Pew survey was conducted this past spring in the U.S., Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

More from U.S. News

U.S. Polarization, Instability From COVID-19 Recoveries Seen as Top Global Threats in 2021

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Most Americans Want Political Reform. So Do Citizens in Other Countries. originally appeared on

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