Strengthening Democracy: What Do Americans Think?

The First Report from the Annual Yankelovich Democracy Monitor

Nearly every day, Americans are confronted with evidence that our politics are broken and our democracy is not working as it should. So what do Americans think we should do to improve our politics and renew our democracy? This is the question that Public Agenda, in partnership with the Kettering Foundation, is exploring in the Yankelovich Democracy Monitor.

This multiyear study tracks Americans’ evolving views on democracy and how to strengthen it. 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 distinct contributions to understanding the public’s views and values regarding the democratic renewal so sorely needed today:

  • The Democracy Monitor is solutions oriented, focused primarily on 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 can play in democratic problem solving, rather than focusing solely on institutional policy and electoral politics.
  • Building on Yankelovich’s distinction between knee-jerk opinion and sounder “public judgment,” the Democracy Monitor will track the evolution of public views over time and assess whether stable judgments are forming on solutions to the problems undermining our democracy.

Read the second report from the Yankelovich Democracy Monitor.