61% Say Follow the People; 19% Say Follow the Government Experts

If government experts and intellectuals recommended a policy that voters strongly opposed, 61% say the government should follow the policy preferred by the American people. A Scott Rasmussen national survey found that 19% believe the government follow the policy recommended by experts and intellectuals.

A majority or plurality of every measured demographic group thinks the policies preferred by the people should be pursued. However, the numbers are fairly close among those with post-graduate degrees. Just 43% of these voters think the government should follow the public; 33% say the expert recommendations should be followed. Of course, those with post-graduate degrees are more likely to qualify as government experts.

One reason for the distrust is that just 25% of voters believe government experts make policy recommendations based primarily on their professional expertise. A majority (55%) believe they experts make recommendations based upon their own political preferences. On this question, those with a post-graduate degree are evenly divided. A solid majority of all other voters are more skeptical.

Twenty-three percent (23%) would favor changing our system of government so that government experts could set policy without the need for voter approval. However, 66% would oppose that change.

Scott Rasmussen’s latest column touches on this subject and recent examples of public skepticism. The column notes that 55% of voters believe that letting government bureaucrats set rules without approval of Congress or voters is a major threat to democracy.

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Note: Neither Scott Rasmussen, ScottRasmussen.com, nor RMG Research, Inc. have any affiliation with Rasmussen Reports. While Scott Rasmussen founded that firm, he left more than seven years ago and has had no involvement since that time.


The survey of 1,200 Registered Voters was conducted by Scott Rasmussen using a mixed mode approach from June 22-24, 2021. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc. Most respondents were contacted online or via text while 205 were contacted using automated phone polling techniques. Online respondents were selected from a list of Registered Voters and through a process of Random Digital Engagement. Certain quotas were applied, and the sample was lightly weighted by geography, gender, age, race, education, internet usage, and political party to reasonably reflect the nation’s population of Registered Voters. Other variables were reviewed to ensure that the final sample is representative of that population.