Key Findings

Finding 1: Few Americans think our democracy is functioning well, and Independents are particularly pessimistic about whether it will improve. Half of Americans acknowledge that racism can make civic participation difficult.

Finding 2: Only half of Americans think the current design and structure of our government work. No matter who is in office, four in ten Americans think significant changes are needed to our government so that ordinary people have more of a voice and so government can solve problems more effectively.

Finding 3: Americans see elected officials and special interests as obstacles to ordinary people having a voice. Nonetheless, many people feel they can have influence in their communities if enough people work together. Fewer feel they can have much influence nationally.

Finding 4: People say they would be more likely to get involved in local issues if they could make a real impact. About half of Americans want their local government to implement systems that give people more direct power, such as participatory budgeting, ballot initiatives and citizen juries.