Just How “Great” Has America Become?

Over two years into the Trump MAGA Era, a new Ipsos Poll explores how “great” America has become

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
Get in touch

Washington, DC, May 30, 2019 — Halfway through President Trump’s first term, Ipsos has revisited the same questions we asked when his presidency began: how “great” is America?

In 2017, half of Americans (51%) described America as “great,” defined in this case an 8-10 ranking on a 10-point scale, where a 10 means “the greatest in every way.” Today, that number has dropped eight percentage points (43%). Currently, Americans rate our country as a 6.8 out of 10, on average, down from 7.3 two years ago. Partisanship is the biggest driver of perceptions of greatness; Republicans are more convinced that America is great (8.2 out of 10) than Democrats (6.0) or Independents (6.7).

Four months into Donald Trump’s presidency, only sixteen percent believed America was at its greatest in present day, and that number has stayed consistent (15%). The 1990s are considered to be America’s period of peak greatness (19%), the same as in 2017; this belief is still especially strong among Democrats (28%). In 2017, Republicans were most likely to believe the 1980s were when America was greatest (21%), but now more say the present day (27%).

When looking at what makes America great, our education system (90%), the American people (87%), and the economy (86%) top the list, as they did two years ago. Near the bottom of the list is our political system; currently, two-thirds (67%) believe it is an important factor in making America great. This represents a decline from two years ago (74% in 2017).

About the Study

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted April 30-May 1, 2019. For the survey, a sample of roughly 1,003 adults 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 291 Republicans, 413 Democrats, and 210 Independents. The 2017 wave was conducted May 12-16, 2017. For that survey, a sample of roughly 2,018 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2013 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,003, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points).

The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 6.6 percentage points for Republicans, 5.5 percentage points for Democrats, and 7.7 percentage points for Independents. The 2017 poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or contact us.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs

Mallory Newall
Director, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. Through our media partnerships, Ipsos Public Affairs is a leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and internationally. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,749.5 million in 2018.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs