Home / America / Nearly three-quarters of Americans say it would be ‘too risky’ to give presidents more power

Nearly three-quarters of Americans say it would be ‘too risky’ to give presidents more power

Nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%) say it would be too risky to give presidents more power to deal directly with many of the nation’s problems.

Americans’ views about expanding presidential power have been mostly unchanged from recent years, according to a January Pew Research Center survey of 5,140 adults

Americans are generally skeptical about expanding presidential power

Americans are generally skeptical about expanding presidential power

We first asked this question in 2016, during the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency. Since then, no more than a quarter of Americans have said that many of the country’s problems could be dealt with more effectively if presidents didn’t need to worry so much about Congress or the courts.

The survey also finds:

  • Despite little change on this question overall, partisans’ views have shifted since Democratic President Joe Biden took office. Republicans and Republican leaners have become more skeptical of expanding presidential power, while Democrats and Democratic leaners have become less so.
  • People with less than a bachelor’s degree are more likely than college graduates to say many of the country’s problems could be better addressed with fewer constraints from Congress and the courts.

Views by party

Is more power too risky? Partisans’ views shift with the president’s party

Is more power too risky? Partisans’ views shift with the president’s party

Opinions about whether it would be too risky to give U.S. presidents more power depend in part on which party controls the presidency.

While Republican Donald Trump was president, large majorities of Democrats said it would be too risky to expand presidential power. At least eight-in-ten Democrats said this across Trump’s time in office.

Republicans were far less likely to say this during the Trump presidency.

Since Biden was elected, Republicans have become more wary of expanding presidential power. They are now about 20 percentage points more likely to say it would be too risky to give presidents more power than they were during Trump’s presidency.

Democrats also have changed their views, though less dramatically than Republicans. Currently, 72% say more presidential power would be too risky, compared with more than 80% who said this when Trump was president.

Views by education

College graduates in both parties are especially skeptical of expanding presidential power

College graduates in both parties are especially skeptical of expanding presidential power

In both parties, college graduates are more likely than those without a bachelor’s degree to view giving presidents more power as too risky.

Similar shares of college-educated Democrats (83%) and Republicans (85%) are skeptical of expanding presidential power.

This drops to 76% of less formally educated Republicans and 65% of Democrats.

By: Gabriel Borelli – Pew research center

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