Turn on the news and you will surely hear plenty about protests, violence and the political polarization of the country. However, a new analysis conducted by two non-partisan organizations, Voice of the People and Common Ground Solutions, indicates that we Americans may not be as divided as we might think.
Limited but in-depth surveys found that the majority of Democrats and Republicans surveyed supported 65 proposals in recent Congressional legislation relating to police reform, immigration, healthcare, federal poverty programs, energy and the environment, taxes, Social Security, government reform, sentencing reform, nuclear weapons, international trade, and the U.S. Postal Service.
The proposals that did not get majority support from one or the other party were nonetheless found “tolerable.”
The surveys, primarily conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation (PPC), were unlike traditional political polls in that respondents received a well-rounded understanding of each proposal through an online exercise where they had the opportunity to read briefings on the proposals as well as weigh arguments for and against each before giving their final response.
Additionally, the content was evaluated by both proponents and opponents of each policy to ensure that the briefing was as accurate and balanced as possible.
The results of of these surveys are hopeful and illuminate a productive path forward – focus on civic education, increase civic engagement and improve the quality of political discourse to reclaim our politics and find solutions to our country’s most pressing problems.
For more information about this new kind of civic discourse and how you can participate in it, please listen to this podcast interview with Founder and President of Voice of the People Steven Kull conducted September 2020.