Let's build a democracy that works for everyone

Public Agenda is a nonpartisan research and public engagement organization dedicated to strengthening democracy and expanding opportunity for all Americans.

Our Work:


Lifts up the views and values of the public in today’s policy debates, including those of groups who have had too little voice in our public conversations.


Helps communities think through tough problems, build common ground on solutions, and work together to forge progress on such issues as: Education, Health Care, Economic Opportunity, Climate Change


Helps people redesign and revitalize democracy to make it more inclusive, participatory, and effective.

New & Noteworthy

Programs & Reports

The Hidden Common Ground Initiative™ challenges the increasingly dominant narrative of a hopelessly divided America by identifying and elevating the areas where American’s agree on politically polarized issues, and by fostering productive dialogue on those areas where we truly disagree.

Hidden Common Ground 2020 is the latest, and most exciting iteration of our HCG initiative. Throughout the presidential election season it will involve public opinion research on major issues, innovative journalism and commentary, broad-based public engagement, “Strange Bedfellows” storytelling, and community-based dialogues and events. It is supported by a diverse group of foundations, including the Carnegie Corporation of New Yorkthe John S. and James L. Knight Foundationthe Charles Koch Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, as well as through the generosity of individual donors. In addition, the Kettering Foundation is a research partner of the initiative.

Divisiveness and Collaboration in America is the first research publication of our Hidden Common Ground 2020 partnership.

America’s Hidden Common Ground on Creating Good Jobs: Results from a Public Agenda/USA TODAY/Ipsos Snapshot Poll

A new Public Agenda/USA Today/Ipsos Hidden Common Ground Poll finds that just over half of Americans are worried about being able to maintain their standard of living over the next few years (53%). Split by party affiliation, Democrats are the most worried (60%), followed by Independents (56%) and Republicans (43%). Less than half of respondents would describe national economic conditions in the country today as excellent or good (46%). Nearly three-quarters of Republicans describe the economy this way (72%) compared to 30% of Democrats and 42% of Independents.

Read the snapshot.

Taking the Pulse: Where Americans Agree on Improving Health Care

This research finds that nearly all Americans across the political spectrum want the health care system to change. Even people who currently have what they consider to be satisfactory health insurance nonetheless think the system needs substantial change. Americans across party lines also largely agree on what the goals for the health care system ought to be — starting with making it more affordable and ensuring that people are not penalized for pre-existing conditions. Continue reading

The Yankelovich Stronger Democracy Program contributes research, ideas and tools that support sound public judgment and meaningful public participation.


Recent work: Text, Talk, Engage

The New York Metro Agenda is our program specifically serving our home city and region through nonpartisan research, cutting-edge public engagement and local events. 

New York is our home base. It is also a hotbed of democratic innovation, and we are supporting this civic energy through actionable research, cutting-edge democratic practices, and thought-provoking events. Recent local projects have supported better health care services for low-income families; better small businesses/community relations; and collaboration between residents and scientists on environmental resilience in Jamaica Bay.

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How Can We Help You?

Public Agenda offers a range of services to communities, states, foundations, government agencies, civil-society leaders, civic-minded businesses and public-interest initiatives. For examples of our work and how people have responded to it, see Success Stories and Testimonials. If you are interested in our services, fill out our form.

"The communities we serve are very, very different. With Public Agenda’s assistance through Community Conversations and Student-Faculty Dialogues, we have been able to understand our communities at a level that was previously not possible. We have used Public Agenda’s engagement work successfully to gain internal and external input for our new strategic plan."

- Thomas Baynum, president of Coastal Bend Community College


Help Us Build a Democracy that Works for Everyone

Democracy in America and around the world has come under severe stress. It is Public Agenda’s privilege to work as hard as we can to make our democracy a more just, effective and resilient problem-solving institution, so everyone has a voice. Please make a gift to us today, at this critical moment in American history.