We will test and potentially challenge the increasingly dominant narrative of a deeply, even hopelessly, divided America
Exploring the Hidden Common Ground Among Americans

This May, I told you about two intertwined themes that Public Agenda has been focusing on lately: Renewing Democracy and Reinventing Opportunity. We launched the Yankelovich Center for Public Judgment  in 2015 with the former in mind. More specifically, to understand the public's role in an effective and just democracy, including how people come to judgment on critical problems and the conditions that make public judgment more or less likely. 

As part of this work, we seek to study the things that separate and the things that unite Americans. Because the former tends to get the most attention, we're excited to announce the kickoff of our new Hidden Common Ground initiative, which will explore the hypothesis that there are many problems and, importantly, solutions that the public agrees on, despite the political gridlock and media noise to the contrary. To that end, we will soon collaborate with our friends at the Kettering Foundation to launch the inaugural Hidden Common Ground research project that will test and potentially challenge the increasingly dominant narrative of a deeply, even hopelessly, divided America--a narrative that we fear could become self-fulfilling to the detriment of democracy. I look forward to sharing more updates with you as we embark on that journey.

Meanwhile, our Public Engagement team is helping local leaders create better conditions for identifying common ground and supporting public judgment in order to better address local problems. Today and tomorrow, they are hosting a Public Engagement Strategy workshop in New York City designed to help leaders in their efforts to engage the people they serve. 

Please be in touch if you'd like to hear about upcoming public engagement workshops and trainings. 


Will's headshot


Will Friedman

New from Public Agenda

Our Senior VP and Director of Higher Education and Workforce Engagement, Alison Kadlec, was quoted in Inside Higher Ed on partisan views on higher education. Public Agenda's research on quality and value in health care was the topic of articles on Becker's Hospital Review and Managed Healthcare Executive


Qualities That Matter
Measuring quality is crucial to improving quality, to paying doctors and hospitals based on patients' health outcomes, and to steering patients toward high-value providers. But quality has many dimensions that are measured in many ways. This research report surveyed people who have experienced one of three common types of health care for which quality and costs can vary: type 2 diabetes care, joint replacement surgery and maternity care.

Teacher Collaboration In Perspective
A joint project of the Spencer Foundation and Public Agenda, Teacher Collaboration In Perspective is designed to contribute to a better-informed dialogue about how teachers can work more collaboratively. 

Still Searching: How People Use Health Care Price Information in the United States
Half of Americans have tried to find price information before getting care, but obstacles remain to helping them find the information that can help them save money. This research report is based on a nationally representative survey conducted in conjunction with representative surveys in four states: Florida, New Hampshire, New York and Texas.

From the Blog

Making engagement more social and versatile, so that it is more common, convenient and fun.

How can public engagement change in order to meet the challenges and conditions of 2017? There are a number of promising directions for new innovations.

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Ranking countries on their commitment to reducing inequality. What happened to the Grand Bargain? The importance of civic engagement. Why principals avoid giving bad ratings to teachers. It's hard finding candidates to run for office in parts of Connecticut. Is trade school all it's cracked up to be?

Support Our Work

YOUR support will make a huge impact in the lives of your fellow citizens on a local and national level. Join Public Agenda in Reinventing Opportunity and Renewing Democracy by donating today. YOU can create a democracy that works for ALL!  
To make a one-time gift click here or to set up a recurring monthly donation click here.


Public Agenda helps build a democracy that works for everyone. By elevating a diversity of voices, forging common ground, and improving dialogue and collaboration among leaders and communities, Public Agenda fuels progress on critical issues, including education, health care and community engagement. Founded in 1975, Public Agenda is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in New York City. Find Public Agenda online at PublicAgenda.org, on Facebook at facebook.com/PublicAgenda and on Twitter at @PublicAgenda.

Help our nation make progress on its toughest challenges. Donate today.