This collection on American democracy challenges and complements blog posts and opinion pieces that are typical staples of the 24/7 news cycle in the lead up to US elections. You'll find reports about election and campaign administration, voting access and participation, government performance and perceptions, the role of the media in civil society, and more.

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"VOTE!" by Paul Sableman licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Defusing the History Wars: Finding Common Ground in Teaching America’s National Story

December 1, 2022

Our recent survey found that people have more in common than they think when it comes to their opinions on U.S. history. However, they incorrectly think members of the opposing party have views much different than they do - this is called a perception gap and it creates imagined enemies of their fellow Americans.

Civic Participation

2022 Midterm Elections in Ohio

December 8, 2022

A survey of more than 1,000 adult Ohioans on their views of the recent midterm elections in their state and their attitudes towards the political climate.

Campaigns and Elections

Social Media Seen as Mostly Good for Democracy Across Many Nations, But U.S. is a Major Outlier

December 6, 2022

As people across the globe have increasingly turned to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other platforms to get their news and express their opinions, the sphere of social media has become a new public space for discussing – and often arguing bitterly – about political and social issues. And in the mind of many analysts, social media is one of the major reasons for the declining health of democracy in nations around the world.However, as a new Pew Research Center survey of 19 advanced economies shows, ordinary citizens see social media as both a constructive and destructive component of political life, and overall most believe it has actually had a positive impact on democracy. Across the countries polled, a median of 57% say social media has been more of a good thing for their democracy, with 35% saying it has been a bad thing.There are substantial cross-national differences on this question, however, and the United States is a clear outlier: Just 34% of U.S. adults think social media has been good for democracy, while 64% say it has had a bad impact. In fact, the U.S. is an outlier on a number of measures, with larger shares of Americans seeing social media as divisive.

Challenges in Moving Toward a More Inclusive Democracy: Findings from the 2022 American Values Survey

October 27, 2022

Approximately three-quarters of Americans agree that the country is heading in the wrong direction, but there is considerable division over whether the country needs to move backward — toward an idealized, homogeneous past — or forward, toward a more diverse future. Though most Americans favor moving forward, a sizable minority yearn for a country reminiscent of the 1950s, embrace the idea that God created America to be a new promised land for European Christians, view newcomers as a threat to American culture, and believe that society has become too soft and feminine. This minority is composed primarily of self-identified Republicans, white evangelical Protestants, and white Americans without a college degree. The majority of Americans, however, especially younger Americans, the religiously unaffiliated, and Democrats, are more likely to embrace a competing vision for the future of America that is more inclusive.

American Views 2022: Part 1 - News in America: Public Good or Private Enterprise?

October 19, 2022

A robust press is vital to a healthy democracy. But newsrooms need resources to create reliable news that is accessible and free from influence. Since 2017, Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation have studied public opinion on the news media's role in American democracy, with a focus on Americans' expectations and evaluations of the news in delivering on its civic function of informing the public. In this report, Gallup and Knight turned their focus to American views on how the news should be sustained. The research underscores the urgency of developing revenue models that will support trustworthy journalism today.The top findings include: Most Americans believe news organizations prioritize their own business needs – over serving the public interestDespite Americans' emphasis on the media's commercial nature, seven in 10 Americans say they have never paid for newsMore than half (52%) believe advertising should be a news organization's largest revenue sourceAmericans, particularly Gen Z and millennials, do show an openness to public funding and reliance on private donations as a way to support the newsEvents and newsletters could be a promising revenue source


Gender, Generation, and Abortion: Shifting Politics and Perspectives After Roe

October 14, 2022

Three months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the issue of abortion continues to garner widespread public attention. Most Americans are still following news about abortion laws and regulations. In fact, they are paying far more attention to the issue than to the 2022 election itself. Over the summer, Gallup found spontaneous mentions of abortion as the "most important problem" facing the country reaching record highs.But after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, concerns about abortion have become more politically lopsided. Democrats are far more likely to say the issue is a priority for them, and they are paying much closer attention to news about emerging legislation than Republicans are. Nearly half of Democrats say abortion is critically important to them, while fewer than one in three Republicans say the same. Not only that, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on abortion—a notable change from the past.At the same time, it's not clear that abortion will define the 2022 midterm elections. Relatively few Americans—roughly one in three—say abortion is a critical issue. Inflation and crime rank much higher among the public's concerns. It is also not clear that young women, who feel most passionately about the issue, will turn out to vote in greater numbers than in the past. And for most Americans, abortion is still one among many important issues on which they will judge a candidate.Still, the Dobbs decision may have an even larger impact in years to come. It may be a distinctive generational coming-of-age moment for many young women, and it may come to define their politics and worldview going forward. Polls show their attitudes on this and other issues are remarkably different from those of other Americans, including young men.Today, no issue is more important for young women than abortion. It ranks higher than inflation, crime, climate change, immigration, gun policy, education, and jobs and the economy. What's more, young women overwhelmingly say abortion should be legal—including nearly half who say there should be no restrictions on it. Finally, young women are more likely than other Americans to say abortion is a defining issue for their vote.

Campaigns and Elections

Most Latinos Say Democrats Care About Them and Work Hard for Their Vote, Far Fewer Say So of GOP

September 29, 2022

ew Research Center conducted this study to understand the nuances of Hispanic political identity, Hispanics' views about some of the political issues being discussed in the U.S. today, and their interest in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.For this analysis, we surveyed 7,647 U.S. adults, including 3,029 Hispanics, from Aug. 1-14, 2022. This includes 1,407 Hispanic adults on Pew Research Center's American Trends Panel (ATP) and 1,622 Hispanic adults on Ipsos' KnowledgePanel. Respondents on both panels are recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. Recruiting panelists by phone or mail ensures that nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. This gives us confidence that any sample can represent the whole population, or in this case the whole U.S. Hispanic population. (See our "Methods 101" explainer on random sampling for more details.)To further ensure the survey reflects a balanced cross-section of the nation's Hispanic adults, the data is weighted to match the U.S. Hispanic adult population by age, gender, education, nativity, Hispanic origin group and other categories.

Nonprofit Sector Public Polling 2022

September 20, 2022

This report outlines polling results reflecting the views of registered voters on a wide range of topics related to nonprofits and public policy. The results provide valuable insight into the landscape of public opinion ahead of the midterm elections – about charitable giving policy, federal representation of the nonprofit sector, our sector's role in the community, and how the public engages with nonprofits.The findings are clear. The public continues to see value in the nonprofit sector and the role it plays in society. Voters in the United States want to see nonprofits better resourced through charitable giving, more represented in policy conversations, and more actively engaged in civic engagement in the communities they serve. Voters value nonprofit advocacy, are more likely to support an organization that helps them advocate or that advocates for their community, and are willing to help nonprofits make decisions about their public policy work. 

Voter Perceptions of Book Bans and Censorship

September 19, 2022

This poll from EveryLIbrary Institute highlights voter attitudes toward book bans leading up to the 2022 midterm elections. The poll was conducted by Embold Research, a nonpartisan research firm. Embold surveyed 1,123 registered voters from August 31st-September 3rd with a margin of error of 3.4%. The survey looked at the differences in beliefs among voters segmented by age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, and 2020 presidential vote.

Americans' Memories of the Civil Rights Movement

August 22, 2022

This new survey released by More in Common finds deep appreciation amongAmericans for the civil rights movement and broad support for teaching about the movement and its legacy, despite polarized debates about race and the teaching of American history in today's public discourse. 

Influencing Young America to Act: Summer 2022

August 1, 2022

On May 2, a leaked draft opinion by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito revealed that the court planned to overturn Roe v. Wade, the case that affirmed a person's Constitutional right to have an abortion. On May 14, a mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store killed 14 people; 10 days later, 19 children and two teachers inside an elementary school were killed by a teenage gunman. By the end of June, President Joe Biden had signed a $15 billion bill passed by Congress to add some restrictions to gun ownership, and the Supreme Court had removed federal abortion protections.These are the moments and events that transpired right before research began for this second report of 2022 from Cause and Social Influence. Each quarter, CSI tracks the behaviors and motivations of young Americans (ages 18-30) related to social issues and major moments. This report presents findings on data tracked all year for comparison, then focuses specifically on the social issues of guns and women's reproductive rights due to recent cultural, social and political events.

Civic Participation; Government

The Democratic Party’s Transformation More Diverse, Educated, and Liberal but Less Religious

July 28, 2022

Key PointsThe number of white Americans identifying with the Democratic Party collapsed during Barack Obama's presidency. In 2009, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of Democrats were white. Today, only 56 percent of Democrats are white.Over the past two decades, the Democratic Party has become much more liberal. Half (50 percent) of Democrats today identify as liberal, while only 28 percent did so in 1998.Democrats are far less religious today than they were a generation ago. Only 43 percent of Democrats today say religion is a very important part of their lives—a roughly 20 percentage point drop from the late 1990s

Civic Participation