Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters believe the purpose of government is best defined by the Declaration of Independence–“To protect citizen’s unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” However, a ScottRasmussen.com poll found that 45% believe a better definition can be found in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution–“To establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and promote general well-being of the population.”
See question wording and crosstab results.
The Declaration of Independence founded our nation while the Constitution founded and defined our government. In the early days of our nation, there was a partisan divide over which document should be most revered. However, as Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn has written, the two documents are complimentary rather than contradictory.
In The Founders’ Key, Arnn wrote, “The words of the Declaration of Independence ring across the ages. The arrangements of the Constitution have a way of organizing our actions so as to produce certain desirable results, and they have done this more reliably than any governing instrument in the history of man. Connect these arrangements to the beauty of the Declaration and one has something inspiring and commanding.”
Data released earlier shows that 93% of voters agree with a sentiment sometimes defined as the American Creed: Every American should have the right to live their own life as they see fit, so long as they respect the rights of others to do the same. That sentiment was expressed in the Declaration but protected by the Constitution. Unfortunately, just 32% of voters today believe that the federal government respects the right of every American to live their own life as they see fit.
Seventy-seven percent (77%) believe America’s political system is badly broken, primarily because they believe our leaders are not adhering to the Constitution.
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The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted March 23-24, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).