New Poll from The George Washington University and Stagwell: Trust in Government Institutions Declines

The Society of Presidential Pollsters Founder, Mark Penn, Will Discuss “American Government in the 21st Century” Annual Poll Results


WASHINGTON and NEW YORK – Sept. 19, 2023 – Today, the GW Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) Society of Presidential Pollsters Founder Mark Penn, in conversation with Christopher Arterton, professor emeritus and founding dean of the GW Graduate School of Political Management, will reveal the results of the latest “American Government in the 21st Century” annual survey, which takes the pulse of the American people on a wide range of issues related to how elected officials and public institutions are serving them. The complete survey results can be found here.


“Trust in major government institutions is declining again because polarization and partisanship are dominating the discussion,” said Penn. “Politicians are intentionally stoking the distrust, but if our institutions can’t support each other they will all suffer the consequences together.”


Trust in presidency, Supreme Court and Congress declines after several years of stagnation

  • Voters increasingly believe these institutions are not functioning properly: 68% say Congress is not working (up 9 points), 59% say the same of the presidency (up 9), and 49% say so about the Supreme Court (up 6).
  • Voters believe these institutions are becoming increasingly politicized: Majorities say the presidency is becoming more politicized (67%, up 7 from last year), as well as Congress (66%, up 5) and the Supreme Court (55%, up 4).

Concerns about presidential authority grow

  • 55% of voters say executive orders are increasingly being abused.
  • Although most voters still say the presidency should have the same amount of power, 29% now think it should have less power, up 5 points from last year.

Voters remain passionate about free speech

  • 92% of voters think the country should have freedom of speech.
  • 85% of voters, up 5 points from last year, say we need to strengthen First Amendment freedoms rather than limit more areas of speech.

Bipartisanship breakdown is intensifying but voters still want it

  • 81% of voters say the bipartisan system of governing is broken, back up to pandemic levels after two years of improvement.
  • 72% of voters say bipartisan support is necessary for major policy change.


The event will be held from noon -1:30 PM today in the City View Room. If you would like to attend, please RSVP here.


The George Washington University established the Society of Presidential Pollsters in 2010. The Society acts as a membership organization for the select group of people who have served as public opinion advisors to the President of the United States. The Society aims to collect and preserve records of the polling conducted on behalf of the White House over the last eight decades.


HarrisX, on behalf of the Society of Presidential Pollsters, conducted the survey between Sept. 8 – 11, 2023 among 2,001 registered voters who were randomly recruited to participate in it. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race or ethnicity, income, education, political party, and political ideology where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. The margin for error was +/- 2.2%.


For the full findings of the poll, please click below:

American Government in the 21st Century Sept 2023 Full Findings

American Government in the 21st Century 2023 Crosstabs


About Stagwell

The Hub | Stagwell

Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW) is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing. Led by entrepreneurs, our 13,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at


About HarrisX

HarrisX is a technology-driven market research and data analytics company that conducts multi-method research in the U.S. and over 40 countries around the world on behalf of Fortune 100 companies, public policy institutions, global leaders, NGOs and philanthropic organizations. HarrisX was the most accurate pollster of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.


Media Contact

Sarah Arvizo