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.

New & Noteworthy

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.

Programs & Publications

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.

THE LATEST FROM HIDDEN COMMON GROUND:
America's Hidden Common Ground on Race and Police Reform: Results from a Public Agenda/USA Today/Ipsos snapshot survey

Most Americans (58%) say racial bias against Black or African Americans committed by police and law enforcement is a serious problem in their community, including 75% of Democrats and 51% of Independents as well as 40% of Republicans. There is significant common ground across the political spectrum and across racial/ethnic groups on several measures to reduce police use of excessive force against Black Americans, including increasing transparency and data collection, de-escalation and anti-bias training, recruiting more Black officers, and community policing. Americans are split on how to change police departments’ budgets and whether to reduce departments’ responsibilities in the community.

Read the snapshot.


 America’s Hidden Common Ground on the Coronavirus Crisis: Results from a Public Agenda/USA Today/Ipsos survey of Americans’ views on reopening their communities

Regardless of political affiliation, Americans see the pandemic as more of a threat to their physical health than to their mental health and financial well-being. More Americans report that they have donated money, supplies or time to community members in need (37% in May and 28% in March). Americans are cautiously optimistic about the effects of the virus on their communities, and most (62%) think the government’s priority should be preventing the virus from spreading and keeping people from getting sick or dying – a drop of ten percentage points from March when 72% prioritized preventing the virus from spreading.

Read the snapshot.


America's Hidden Common Ground on the Coronavirus: Results from a Public Agenda/USA TODAY/Ipsos Snapshot Poll

According to a new Public Agenda/USA Today/Ipsos Hidden Common Ground Survey, Americans are aligned on the large threat that COVID-19 poses to the United States, the stock market and the global economy, as well as the steps the government should take to help businesses and people affected. Though Americans see the virus as less of a threat to them or to their community, they are using this time to rally around local businesses, neighbors, and their friends and family.

Read the snapshot.

 

 


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.

Read the report.

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.

Recent work:

Avenue NYC

Cycles of Resilience - Jamaica Bay

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How We Work

Public Agenda works to strengthen democracy and expand opportunity for all Americans through public engagement and public opinion research.

"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.