Greater Voice, Greater Impact: Americans’ Views on Making Democracy Work for Everyone

The Second Report from the Annual Yankelovich Democracy Monitor

From impeachment and divisive rhetoric to an aging infrastructure and runaway health care costs, Americans have long faced evidence that neither our politics nor our government functions as it should. The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has made those challenges even more stark, turning political dysfunction, divisiveness, and inequalities into matters of life and death.

What do Americans think should be done to strengthen our democracy, and what roles do they want to play in civic and political life? This report explores those and other questions based on data from the second Yankelovich Democracy Monitor survey. This survey was fielded before the 2020 novel coronavirus outbreak began and before nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota. Subsequent surveys will track how Americans’ attitudes on these questions evolve as the nation recovers from the pandemic.

The Democracy Monitor is a multiyear study designed to track Americans’ views on democracy and how to strengthen it, conducted in partnership with the Kettering Foundation. The study is named for and informed by the insights of Daniel Yankelovich (1924–2017), a co-founder of Public Agenda and master public opinion researcher.

The Democracy Monitor aims to make several contributions to understanding the public’s views and values regarding democratic renewal:

  • The Democracy Monitor is oriented toward solutions and what should be done to make progress, rather than on who is to blame for our problems.
  • This research emphasizes the roles that ordinary people and communities play in democratic problem solving, rather than focusing solely on institutions and elections.
  • The Democracy Monitor is designed to track the evolution over time of public opinion on the problems facing our democracy.

Read the first report from the Yankelovich Democracy Monitor.