The first step in successful advocacy is listening, deeply and fully, to the voices of those that you hope to influence. The process can be time consuming and resource intensive, but the insights that it yields form the foundation of a campaign that can effectively move hearts and minds.

Through a variety of techniques, including original survey research, cluster analysis, and focus groups, we team with social justice organizations and leaders to build a quantifiable understanding of how communications targets think, feel, and talk about critical values, ideas, and policies. This data is then utilized to develop and test the messages that will build support for policies that expand opportunity. These investments in understanding public opinion have yielded dividends in the form of advocacy activities that are clearer, more concise, and more effectively targeted.

Type Title
Research Public Opinion Research (Executive Summary) - In Play: African American, Hispanic, and Progressive White Voters on Immigration Reform (2010)

Since its inception, America has been considered a land of opportunity for people around the world. The fabric of our nation is woven by immigrant experiences. However, the current immigration system does not work and is not fair for Americans or immigrants. Most Americans agree that the system is broken and needs to be reformed.

Communications Talking Points: Health as a Human Right (2008)

These talking points provide advice on talking broadly about creating a health care system that works for everyone.

Research Public Opinion Research: Meta-Analysis of Public Opinion on Reproductive Justice (2010)

The reproductive justice (RJ) movement works to create a society in which all people have the economic, social, and political resources necessary to make healthy decisions about their bodies, sexuality, and reproduction for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Research Media Analysis: California Public Discourse on Immigration (2009)

CA%20Media%20Scan.jpgFor much of this decade, immigration has been an important topic on the public agenda. Nowhere is that more true than in California. The state is home to 9.9 million immigrants, its governor is an immigrant, and it is a border state on the front lines of the debate over immigration reform.

Research Public Opinion and Media Analysis: English Language Acquisition Programs and Children of Immigrants (2008)

publicDiscourseImmigration.pngThe report examines public opinion and media coverage of two issues deeply tied to the immigrant experience, English language acquisition and the children of immigrants. The willingness of immigrants to learn English is of great interest to the public, and we have identified some openings to promote pro

Research Public Opinion: State Policy Makers and Human Rights (2008)

statePolicyMakers.pngThis analysis of the interviews in California and Illinois addresses how fifty policy leaders see human rights issues at the state level.

Research Public Opinion: Meta-Analysis of Immigration Opinion Research (2008)

publicOpinionImmigration.pngThis report synthesizes public opinion research on key immigration issues in the United States at the time of its writing and provides a comprehensive assessment of literature, public opinion, and focus groups on immigration issues in the United States.

Research Public Opinion: Human Rights in the United States (2007)

HRopinionResearch.pngThis research project examined the opinion of three key audiences on human rights in the U.S. as applied to social justice issues:  the American public, social justice advocates not currently using the human rights approach, and journalists who regularly cover social issues.

Research Media and Public Opinion Analysis: African Americans on Immigration (2007)

This report examines African American public opinion about immigration, and immigration coverage in African American media.

Research Public Opinion: How to Work With Public Opinion Research (2004)

Siegel%20POresearch.pngThis basic primer was written by Loren Siegel based on her work managing the American Civil Liberties Union's public opinion research program during her tenure as Public Education Director (1991-2001).

Page Top Public Opinion Insights To Begin The New Year


Photo courtesy of Flickr/kelly88ros

By Jhanidya Bermeo 

Page Americans Still Divided and Misinformed on ACA after October Events

By Jhanidya Bermeo

Page Public Opinion Monthly - Tracking Attitudes Toward Opportunity

Public Opinion Monthly (February 2014): Homeownership and Affordable Housing Remain Tough Goals

By Jhanidya Bermeo

Page Messaging Guidance: African-American Men and Boys

Improving Media Coverage and Public Perceptions of
African-American Men and Boys

Download messaging memo (PDF)

Learn more about The Opportunity Agenda's work on Opportunity for Black Men and Boys

Page Public Opinion Monthly (February 2013)

Public Opinion and Media Coverage of Immigrant Women

Page Public Opinion Monthly (November 2012)

Redrawing the image of the LGBT community in the American mind.

By Eleni Delimpaltadaki Janis

Page Public Opinion Monthly (March 2012)

Public Opinion Monthly: Equal Opportunity and the Role of Government

By: Jill Mizell

Page LGBT Report

Public Opinion and Discourse on the Intersection of LGBT Issues and Race

Join our Telebriefing on September 12, 2012 

Page Public Opinion Monthly (December 2011)

By: Jill Mizell

December 9, 2011

Americans’ views of family are undergoing major shifts. Divisions arise over definitions of family, and many still hold a negative view of single parents, particularly mothers. Polling research shows the wide range of attitudes and perceptions that lead Americans to judge other people’s families, including families that do not mirror their own. 

Page Literature Review: Media Representations and Impact on the Lives of Black Men and Boys

This social science literature review focuses on the question of how media, and communications more broadly, affect outcomes for black men and boys in American society. The summary is intended to offer communicators — who come to the review with a wide range of backgrounds and depth of knowledge on the topic — a digestible overview of an extremely rich and varied body of research. It reviews a significant set of materials, representing many of the key approaches and themes that characterize the scholarship as a whole.

Page Media Market Research: Media Consumption Trends Among Black Men

This study analyzed African-American men’s media consumption habits. It investigates a wide range of national and regional media platforms to provide insights into how African-American men consume media. It identified which media sources are likely to have the greatest impact on the thinking and attitudes of this segment of the American population and offers a series of recommendations about where interventions may be most fruitful.

Page Public Opinion Research Related to Black Male Achievement

This analysis provides an overview of some central themes emerging from public opinion research regarding understandings of black male achievement, awareness of racial disparities, and the causes of and responsibility for addressing them. It is intended to offer communicators a synthesis of key ideas that exist in public understanding that can either derail the conversation or move it forward.

Page Restoring Media Images and Public Opinion about Black Men and Boys
 
In the news: President Barack Obama Launches My Brother's Keeper's Initiative to Expand Opportunity for Young Men and Boys of Color

Images of black men and boys in the media overall are a distortion of reality in a variety of ways, as extensive audits conducted by scholars and researchers over the years show.

Page Public Opinion on Opportunity and the American Dream, Homeownership, and Housing

The Opportunity Agenda’s new research memo, “Public Opinion on Opportunity and the American Dream, Homeownership, and Housing,” synthesizes existing public opinion data regarding economic opportunity and homeownership, exploring three areas that are of particular interest to those working on housing policy: (1) perceptions of economic mobility, the American Dream, and the role of institutions; (2) the role that Americans believe homeownership and housing play in creating opportunity; and (3) the politics of housing.

Page Public Opinion on Opportunity and the American Dream, Homeownership, and Housing

The Opportunity Agenda’s new research memo, “Public Opinion on Opportunity and the American Dream, Homeownership, and Housing,” synthesizes existing public opinion data regarding economic opportunity and homeownership, exploring three areas that are of particular interest to those working on housing policy: (1) perceptions of economic mobility, the American Dream, and the role of institutions; (2) the role that Americans believe homeownership and housing play in creating opportunity; and (3) the politics of housing.

Page Public Opinion Monthly (August 2011)

By: Jill Mizell and Anna Nillni

Page Public Opinion Monthly (July 2011)

Economic Opportunity, Human Rights, and the Role of Government

By: Jill Mizell

July 27, 2011

Page Public Opinion Monthly (June 2011)

Opportunity and Homeownership: The Politics of Housing

 By Jill Mizell

June 29, 2011

Owning a home is integral to the core American values of mobility and opportunity but the costs of down payment and closing on a home are overwhelming obstacles for many Americans. The current Public Opinion Monthly analyzes recent research on the public's attitudes on housing opportunities and challenges for those who advocate for housing finance reform. 

Page Public Opinion Monthly (May 2011)

The discussion of the economy has dominated public surveys yet again. The Opportunity Agenda presents your guide to them.

By Eleni Delimpaltadaki and Shawnda Chapman

The national deficit

Page Public Opinion Monthly (April 2011)

 

The State of the American Dream

By: Jill Mizell

April 28, 2011

Page Public Opinion Monthly (March 2011)

Homeownership and the American Dream

By: Jill Mizell

March 30, 2011

Page Public Discourse on Immigration in 2010

Read the full report via Scribd.

Immigration in the Public Discourse in 2010 is the fourth public discourse analysis we have completed on the subject of immigrants and immigration reform and illustrates how the discourse has continued to evolve.

Page Public Opinion Monthly

Can Policymakers Learn Something From the Public?  A Majority of Americans Make Tradeoffs to Effectively Reduce the Deficit and Save Social Security.

By: Jill Mizell

February 28, 2011

Page Public Opinion Monthly (November 2010)

Economic Conditions Proved to be the Driving Force in the 2010 Elections

Page Public Opinion Monthly (October 2010)

Women, African Americans, Latinos, and Young Adults at the Election Booth: What we have learned about the attitudes of these groups since 2008

By Eleni Delimpaltadaki

Disparities and Attitudes by Demographic Group

Women:

Page Reproductive Justice: A Communications Overview

The reproductive justice (RJ) movement works to create a society in which all people have the economic, social, and political resources necessary to make healthy decisions about their bodies, sexuality, and reproduction for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Page Public Opinion Monthly (September 2010)

Public Support for Policies for Equal Recovery and Opportunity

Looking at the road ahead, Public Opinion Monthly reviewed public support for policies, which promote equal opportunity for more communities in our society.

By Eleni Delimpaltadaki

Page August Public Opinion Monthly: New Orleans at Five, Scars Still Visible

The sheer amount of perseverance shown by New Orleans residents in the face of disasters – first Hurricane Katrina, then the great economic recession, and now the Gulf of Mexico’s Deep Water Horizon oil spill – demonstrates how unique and precious this city is to the greater United States.  No other US city has known such repeated devastation, or has demonstrated such noble resistance to defeat, such an immense capacity to endure.  Although the city and its residents have not been broken by the continued assaults, many are still picking up the pieces.

Page Public Opinion Monthly (July 2010)

The controversial immigration law passed in Arizona, SB1070, has brought immigration back to the fore as a pressing political issue, and has restored immigration to the top of the media headlines and public discourse. Where does the public stand on immigration, the Arizona immigration law, and the law’s implications for citizens and communities? Now is the time to turn valid frustrations into workable solutions that uphold our nation’s values and move us forward together.

Page Public Opinion Monthly (May 2010)

Human rights are important to Americans, and most believe in protecting and defending these rights.  Many Americans agree on basic rights, such as equality, freedom from discrimination, and freedom from torture.  As the conversation gets more in-depth, however, beliefs and opinions involving rights become increasingly complex.  Indicative of these complexities are Americans' attitudes toward LGBT and reproductive rights.  Despite consensus that gays and lesbians face a great deal of discrimination, and the profuse declarations of freedom to "life,

Page Public Opinion Monthly (April 2010)

Keeping the American Dream in 2010 Alive. With or without government intervention? Public Opinion and Facts.

The American dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement—James Truslow Adams.

Page Public Opinion Monthly (March 2010)

New Immigration Research

New Poll: People of Faith Support Immigration Reform (March 2010)
Approve of Clergy Speaking Out

 

Page Public Opinion Monthly (January 2010)

A year after the first African American was elected to the office of the  President of the United States, political scientists and pollsters have examined closely racial and voting attitudes to shed light to the 2008 election, and Americans' state of mind about race in general.

Page Public Opinion Monthly (December 2009)

December Roundup:

Looking Back on the Past Year
Reflecting on the Last Decade
Outlook on the Next Year
Expectations for the Coming Decade

Page Public Opinion Monthly (November 2009)

November Roundup:

Suspects of Terrorism and Due Process
Race in the Age of Obama

This month’s insight into the public mind is on rights for suspects of terrorism and due process, and racial attitudes in the age of Obama, a topic which we will continue to track and analyze here over time.

Page Public Opinion Monthly Mission Statement

Public Opinion Monthly: Tracking Attitudes Toward Opportunity was conceptualized by Eleni Delimpaltadaki Janis responding to the need for digestible insights into public opinion on social issues in an open-source platform. Public Opinion Monthly is a hub of public opinion research across issues for the U.S. human rights and social justice field, the press, and the public.

Page Links to Research Organizations and Polling Blogs

Public Opinion Sources

Page Immigration Focus Group Research (2009)

New Message Testing for an Effective Immigration Narrative by Lake Research Partners and The Opportunity Agenda

Page Public Opinion: Human Rights Messaging Recommendations (2009)

The Opportunity Agenda completed in-depth public opinion research in spring 2009 to help advocates in building understanding and support for human rights at home. Through a series of focus group discussions, we examined attitudes toward human rights, and how to discuss a range of social justice issues within the context of human rights. Read more.

Page Tools & Resources

We produce a range of communications, legal, advocacy and research tools. 

Blog Post Public Skeptical About Incarceration Policies

By Jhanidya Bermeo

With more than 1.5 million people currently in prison, the United States maintains the highest prison population of any country in the world by far. The International Centre for Prison Studies calculates that for every 100,000 individuals in the United States, 716 will be in prison. These numbers amount to a prison occupancy capacity level of 99%, with budgetary costs close to 7 billion dollars. According the Bureau of Justice Statistics, incarceration rates have been decreasing by 1% - 2% for three consecutive years since 2012. This slight decrease has been attributed to a changing legislative and public mindset in recent years, a mindset which has emphasized curbing the excessive growth of the prison system. This emphasis is thought to be due in part by state and federal level budgetary restrictions, decreasing crime rates, and a more lenient attitude towards low-level non-violent drug offenses. Though recent public opinion polls about the criminal justice system are lacking, we can draw insights from several studies conducted in the last decade, particularly on attitudes towards incarceration and non-violent drug offenses. 

To read more, visit Public Opinion Monthly page.

Blog Post Public Opinion on Social Issues and Public Policy: 20 Charts you should see (Part 1)

From immigration reform to God and the Superbowl, public opinion matters and these charts give you the headlines you should know if you care about or work on social issues. 

By Eleni Delimpaltadaki Janis 

Significant Gains in Support for Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants 

 

Blog Post Redrawing the image of the LGBT community in the American mind.

 

Photo courtesy of Zap2It

 On November 6, 2012 the American people reached new historic milestones. Not only did we re-elect the first African-American president, we also elected the first openly gay indivudal to the U.S. Senate, Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). We also elected four new openly gay individuals to the U.S. House of Representatives, bringing their total to 6, a record for that chamber of Congress. Currently, there are more than 530 openly gay elected officials in the U.S, according to the Victory Fund.  

Blog Post Arizonans Widely Support the DREAM Act In Contrast to Governor Brewer's Stance


Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Photo by Resolution Copper (Flickr, All Rights Reserved)

Andrew Johnson contributed to this post

On August 16, Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer signed an executive order to block state benefits, including driver licenses for recipients of Deferred Action--a new federal government program that reflects the goals of the Dream Act to temporarily delay deportation for undocumented immigrants who moved to the U.S. before the age of 16 and are currently 30 years old or younger.

Despite the Governor’s claim that this is what the citizens of Arizona want, nearly three-quarters of Arizonans (73%), regardless of their race, ethnicity and party affiliation support the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants who graduate from college or serve in the military to become U.S. citizens (Marist Poll, April 2012).

 

Blog Post What You Just Said Hurts My Head

2476168474_d803b26ce3.jpg

We’re all familiar with the feeling of cognitive dissonance, when suddenly we’re forced to hold two contradicting ideas in our heads. Maybe we’ve just heard unflattering news about someone we respected, or have been presented with facts that challenge a deeply held worldview. As any communications expert will tell you, we tend to deal with this kind of dissonance by simply rejecting the new information as incorrect, unreliable, or purposefully misleading.

Blog Post Connections Between Media Depictions of Black Men and Boys and Lower Life Chances

While there has been significant improvement in racial attitudes in the past half-century, the tragic death of Trayvon Martin suggests that stereotypes and bias against African Americans, especially males, still persist. The Opportunity Agenda’s new report, "Opportunity for Black Men and Boys: Public Opinion, Media Depictions, and Media Consumption," lays out evidence that African-American men and boys are grossly overrepresented in depictions of criminality and violence in the media, as compared to documented reality. These false portrayals, reasearch proves, can lead to distorted and negative perceptions as well as discriminatory treatment against African Americans.

Blog Post Poverty, Opportunity, and the 2012 Presidential Election

 A recent forum in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, provided an in-depth discussion into the level of concern in the United States about poverty and opportunity, particularly concerning children. Spotlight on Poverty also looked at whether or not these issues will be factors in the upcoming presidential election. Overall, people believe strongly that equal opportunity for children of all races is very important; that not all children currently have full access to opportunity; and that presidential candidates’ views on poverty are very important. But, many think that neither the candidates nor the media are discussing poverty enough.

Blog Post Will growing poverty affect election 2012? An interview and new national poll.

On January 17th, Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity hosted a great forum in Washington, D.C. with pollsters—Celinda Lake, Jim McGlaglin and others—, members of the press and political analysts, including E.J. Dionne and Michael Gerson, to discuss whether and how growing poverty will affect the election in 2012. Following the event, I was interviewed to address that very question.

Blog Post Public Opinion Roundup: Equal Opportunity and Fairness

 Year after year, equal opportunity and fairness are critically important values on the minds of Americans. Surveys find a collective desire for greater economic equality, greater government involvement in employment and opportunity, and a more widespread distribution of wealth, but people don’t think that these values are reflected in the current economy.  For example, a November 2011 poll found that just over half of Americans said that a major problem in the U.S. is that “everyone does not have an equal chance in life.” The same number agreed with this statement in September 2010. More than two of three Democrats and one in two Independents agreed, but more than half of Republicans disagreed. 

 

Blog Post Percentage thinking the US has fulfilled MLK Jr.’s vision drops to pre-Obama election levels; what happened?

When Barack Obama was running for President in April of 2008, slightly more than a third of the adults in the US thought that the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. as outlined in his “I Have a Dream” speech, had been fulfilled.  Just before Obama was sworn in as President in January of 2009, the perception that the King vision had already been fulfilled had swelled to nearly half of all adults in the US.  Perceptions of African Americans improved dramatically during this period increasing 30 points to 65% between April 2008 and January 2009.

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: Economic Opportunity, Human Rights, and the Role of Government

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal survey finds that Americans are showing less pessimism about the direction of the country, and that a fundamental element that contributes to confidence in the country is economic opportunity. Additional research finds that economic opportunity and mobility is so important that a large majority believes that ensuring economic opportunity should be considered a human right.

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: Opportunity and Homeownership

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Photo by respres

Opportunity and Homeownership: The Politics of Housing

Owning a home is integral to the core American values of mobility and opportunity but the costs of down payment and closing on a home are overwhelming obstacles for many Americans. The June Public Opinion Monthly analyzes recent research on the public's attitudes on housing opportunities and challenges for those who advocate for housing finance reform. 
 

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: Homeownership and the American Dream

In anticipation of the upcoming March Public Opinion Monthly focusing on foreclosures, homeownership, and equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream, this week’s biweekly roundup focuses on recent public opinion studies on the topic, to be analyzed further in the Monthly.

Blog Post Bi-Weekly Public Opinion Round Up - Marriage Equality

 

 Marriage%20Equality.jpg

 Photo by Fritz Liess

GROWING SUPPORT FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY


 Obama Administration Announces It Will No Longer Defend the Defense of Marriage Act

Blog Post Bi-Weekly Public Opinion Round Up - Health Care Reform

 While the Debate about Health Care Reform Rages On, 1 in 6 Americans remain without Health Insurance.  

Over the past several weeks there has been a great deal of debate regarding our nation’s strained health care system and the recently established Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. Last week, House Republicans voted unanimously to repeal the new legislation that would mend gaping holes in our nation’s tattered safety net by allowing parents to keep children on their health plans until the age of 26, barring insurers from denying service due to preexisting conditions, dramatically expanding Medicaid funding, and most importantly by extending coverage to some 30 million uninsured Americans by year 2019. The American public, however, remains at odds on the issue.

Blog Post Bi-Weekly Public Opinion Roundup: Political Rhetoric and Guns

Increasing polarization and violent metaphor used in political rhetoric does not relate to the tragic shooting in Arizona last weekend, according to a majority of Americans.  Yet a plurality believe that politics did play a role in the shooter’s motives, and there is a substantial gap between party identification and belief that violent action against the government is justified.  While the public continues to move towards favoring looser gun control laws and regulation, they are split on the implications of the recent shooting.

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: Deficit Reduction, Tax Cut Extensions and Program Spending

The deficit commission's recent release of a deficit reduction strategy prompted much discussion and debate about the deficit, what it could mean, and how it should be handled.  Talk of the deficit triggers pessimism for most.  Most see tax cuts and federal spending as being at odds with deficit reduction, and a choice must be made between the two, although there is a good deal of support for allowing tax cuts to expire for wealthier families.

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: 2010 is "The Year of the Woman?"

Women bring something different to the table; a perspective that is distinct from men’s. Both experiences are equally important, and both need to be incorporated in to decision-making and represented in power-circles if we hope to embrace all viewpoints and make progress as a society. Yet advancement for women and for gender equality seems to have stagnated, and considering how far we are from equality, stagnation is tantamount to decline.

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: Latinos, Politics and the Election

As an emerging demographic group in the United States, and as a growing percentage of the electorate, the political concerns of Latinos – and trends in their voting behavior – need to be well understood and acknowledged by policymakers and elected officials. Historically, Latinos tend to strongly support Democratic candidates, believing that Democrats are more concerned with the issues that are important to this key constituency.

Blog Post Midterm Elections in the Public Discourse

Harvard conducted a poll of Millennials - individuals aged 18-29 - and find that election enthusiasm among this age group has declined since a year ago.  

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: Extending Middle Class Tax Cuts

This month, Congress is tasked with deciding how to address the Bush Tax Cuts (passed in 2001) that are due to expire in December.  Public opinion seems to be in favor of keeping the tax cuts for the middle class, although there is less consensus around whether high-income households earning more than $250,000 a year should enjoy the same tax cuts.  With the economy at top of mind, and deficit reduction hotly debated by pundits, the tax cut debate could shape up to be important for the midterm election.

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: Social Security's 75th Birthday

Having reached it's 75th birthday, Social Security cuts are now being considered by the federal deficit commission.  Survey data shows, however, that this action is wildly unpopular with a majority of Americans, as Social Security has historically held high levels of public support, and continues to do so.  People have doubts about the program's solvency in the long-term, and this is an issue that needs to be addressed in a meaningful way.

Blog Post Bi-weekly Public Opinion Roundup

The sheer amount of perseverance shown by New Orleans residents in the face of disasters – first Hurricane Katrina, then the great economic recession, and now the Gulf of Mexico’s Deep Water Horizon oil spill – demonstrates how unique and precious this city is to the greater United States.  No other US city has known such repeated devastation, or has demonstrated such noble resistance to defeat, such an immense capacity to endure.  Although the city and its residents have not been broken by the continued assaults, many are still picking up the pieces.  

Blog Post Mixed Numbers

“We are all in it together” was the sentiment portrayed in last week’s opinion polls on the extension of the unemployment benefits. The passing of the bill last week Tuesday was a decision supported by the majority of Americans across the board, regardless of income, race or political orientation. 

Blog Post People Desire Action on Immigration

Some opinions that have been overlooked by the media in the last couple of weeks:

Blog Post What Americans Want

Americans are known, for better of for worse, for their strong support of “capitalism” and hesitancy towards “socialism.” A recent poll by Pew Research Center confirmed this notion, although perhaps not with the intensity one would expect. When asked what their first reaction to the word “socialism” was, 59% gave a negative response and only 29% responded positively.

Blog Post Bi-Weekly Opinion Roundup: High Support for S.B. 1070 is driven by thirst for action not desire for an unjust law

Since the passage of S.B. 1070, Arizona’s new immigration law, polling has consistently shown that a majority of Americans—not just Arizona residents—support the law. An April 28 Gallup poll found 51% of Americans in support of the law, versus 39% opposed, and a May 9 Pew Research Center poll had support among registered Democrats only at 45% (Sources: Gallup, Pew).

Blog Post A Representative Sample of the People Has Spoken

While it would be unwise for any politician to govern by focus group, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll offers some support and some clear suggestions for future action for the White House.  The poll, which was conducted in early February 2010, had 1,084 respondents – certainly a small group to be determining policy for 308 million Americans – but the results do resonate. 

Blog Post Keeping the American Dream in 2010 Alive

With or without government intervention? Public Opinion and Facts
Following a pro-longed debate over health care reform, a new legislative battle over financial regulation is under the way. What remains consistent in the public discourse and in Washington is the bone of contention: the role of government.

But what is it that we really argue about it? It could be many things such as the wellbeing of the people, the financial health of the country or America's leading role in world politics. In the bigger picture, a lot of what we are arguing and fighting for are embodied in the idea of the American Dream, that "dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" (James Truslow Adams).

Blog Post Bi-Weekly Public Opinion: Do we know what our government does for us?

Low awareness of role of federal agencies and Tea Party fever 

With examples from widespread frustration about tax day and the census, we can get an idea as to the confusion that many Americans have regarding the role of the government agencies and actions and their benefits and roles. According to a survey by Ipsos, 65% of American adults think that the government does not do an adequate job of communicating its agencies services and benefits.

Blog Post Off-Shore Drilling on America's Coasts

Off-Shore Drilling Proposal

Blog Post Bi- Weekly Opinion Roundup: The Progressive Millennials and Inter- Generational Conflict

Talking about my generation, a recent survey set out to track the opinions, values, and habits of the millennial generation. Born between 1980 and 1998, this generation is more diverse, educated, progressive and less religious than the generations preceding it. Racial minorities make up 39% of Millennials, aged 18-29 (more, but similar to Generation X).

Blog Post A Government that Reflects America's Values

According to a 2007 poll, Americans define human rights as the rights to equal opportunity, freedom from discrimination, a fair criminal justice system, and freedom from torture or abuse by law enforcement. Despite the current political wrangling over how to reform it, a majority of Americans even believe that access to health care is a human right.

Blog Post Bi-Weekly Public Opinion Roundup

Bi-Weekly Public Opinion Roundup

The upcoming November elections draw near, both Democrats and Republicans are in an election state of mind. Both parties are focusing on trying to appease their voter base, while Obama and his administration push forward to make due on some promises such as health care reform and the repeal of the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ military policy.

Blog Post Do Americans Think that Government Can Become the Engine of Opportunity?

New research studies yield insights on Americans’ perceptions of government and its role in the economy, their life choices on matters such as education during the economic downturn, and their approval (or not) of the stimulus package and the direction of the economy.

Read the full analysis at Public Opinion Monthly: Tracking Attitudes toward Opportunity.
Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: Americans' Agenda for 2010

Americans perception of today's affairs and recent important events, such as the failed terrorist attack on Christmas Day, the President’s State of the Union Address, and the persistent effects of the recession form their agenda for 2010. Although the public's top priorities for the Administration and Congress laid out by recent surveys show that priorities remain similar to last year (jobs and the economy), there have been some notable shifts. These shifts will have an impact on what will gain enough public pressure to get legislation passed in an election year. Let's take a more careful look at how Americans think about the economy, terrorism, health care, and immigration.

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: State of the Union and the 2010 Census

The State of the Union speech given on Wednesday by President Obama was a major event this week, and the focus of several polls.  Though Gallup reported that, historically, support for the President is not affected by the State of the Union, a before-after survey conducted by CNN shows that the address bolstered viewers confidence in the administration.  How long this boost will last, and whether it can be generalized to the entire public, remains to be seen.

Blog Post Post-Racial America? Not Yet.

A year after the first African American was elected to the office of the  President of the United States, political scientists and pollsters have examined closely racial and voting attitudes to shed light to the 2008 election, and Americans' state of mind about race in general. If one conlusion was to be drawn, it would be that racism was a important predictor of the 2008 election outcome, and that racial divisions persist in Americans’ assessments of the causes of the problems, and policies to address them.

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: Media and Public Opinion

The media have a substantial influence on the shape of public opinion, and it is important to understand how the landscape of media is changing, as well as how news coverage portrays issues, individuals and groups of people. The Project for Excellence in Journalism through Pew Research Center recently released two studies, one examining where local news comes from in Baltimore, and another looking at coverage of Latinos in the news.

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: The Economy, Race Relations, and Entering a New Decade

The end of a year – and especially the end of a decade – warrants both retrospective reflection and predictions of what is to come.  Currently there seems to be much consensus, especially around the 2000s as a decade of struggle and decline for the US.  There is a silver lining, however, in the cautious optimism around the issue of race relations.  As the decade comes to a close, it is still clear that the US is entering the 2010s with much work to do, particularly with the economy and unemployment.  Below is recent public opinion on the past decade, the curr

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: Latinos in the U.S.

With Eleni Delimpaltadaki

Over the next few decades, the United Sates’ Latino population is estimated to triple, comprising about 29% of US residents. At the same time, voters of Latin descent made up 7.4% of the electorate. In a continuing effort to better understand the attitudes and values of Latinos as expressed in survey studies in the past, we rounded up below findings from recent months.

Blog Post Bi-weekly Public Opinion Roundup - Health Care, and Capitalism

As expected, there are plenty of new public opinion polls on health care and health care reform.  Though some people may already be tired of the topic, it is more important now than ever that we understand where the public stands on health care, how the trends in opinion are changing, and why.  Indirectly related to issues of healthcare is a new public opinion poll on capitalism, twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Blog Post Bi-weekly Public Opinion Roundup: Californians on Immigration

For much of this decade, immigration has been an important topic on the public agenda. Nowhere is that more true than in California. The state is home to 9.9 million immigrants, its governor is an immigrant, and it is a border state on the front lines of the debate over immigration reform.

Blog Post Bi-weekly Public Opinion Roundup

with Jill Mizell

Americans are still pessimistic about employment and the economy, according to several recent polls. A majority agree that young people will not achieve the same standard of living as the previous generation or that it is more likely that families will suffer “economic reversals” in the next 5 to 10 years. Support for the stimulus bill has dropped and opinion is now deadlocked on the bill, though some aspects, such as spending on infrastructure and public works, remain popular among a majority. A majority of Americans think that some of the recent federal measures should be lasting, while fewer Americans – although still a majority – feel that President Obama's policies will help in these tough economic times.

Blog Post Public Opinion Roundup: Abortion and Social Rifts

Support for Abortion Slips, Perceptions of Social Rifts Mixed
by Jill Mizell

With the Autumnal Equinox recently behind us, the leaves are starting to fall and the days are finally cooling.  It would seem public opinion on certain hot issues has also started to cool, for better or for worse.  Below are findings from recent studies that show a decline in support for legal abortions although still a majority of Americans oppose increasing barriers to abortion access, and a relatively nonchalant attitude toward racial conflict.  On the flip side, support for making abortions illegal has gained in popularity, and public opinion is heated around perceived conflict between immigrants and the native-born. 

Blog Post Public Opinion Roundup: Going Back to School

We are already well into September, the President is back in the White House, and Congress is in session. As we are re-engaging in the heated public discourse, it's important to know where public opinion stands today, and how it's shifted, if at all, in the past few months. Below is a rundown of important findings on health care reform and from a pioneering survey of immigrants in the US, which were released during the summer. The focus is primarily on data, which can inform advocates' communications, and strategy.

Blog Post Busting the Practice of Myth Busting

As mounting evidence shows, the practice of busting myths - lining up facts to disprove an opponent's false assertions - just doesn't work.  Most recently, Sharon Begley takes on the practice in Newsweek, exploring why people believe nutty stories about health care reform or supposed controversies about the president's birth certificate.  She reports that, basically, people want to believe what they want to believe and they predisposed to ignoring any facts that clash with those beliefs.

Blog Post Bi-Weekly Public Opinion Round-Up

Hope for Health Care Reform?

What does the American public want from health care reform? Here are some of the highlights on public opinion research concerning health care covered by the New York Times, CBS, ABC, and the Pew Research Center this June and July.

Blog Post Americans’ Perceptions of Opportunity – Findings from the 2009 Pew Research Center’s Values Survey

In April 2009, for the 22nd year in a row, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press asked 3,013 Americans for their opinions on questions it has tracked in its Values Survey since 1987 – including perceptions about the nation’s and individuals’ own financial situation, control of personal finances and mobility, views on health care, race relations, government and much more.

Blog Post Public Opinion Round Up: Demand for Health Care Reform and of What Kind

As lawmakers consider a sweeping overhaul of the nation's health care system, we analysed the most recent public opinion findings, and present them below. The highlights include: 1. Demand for major reform of the system immediately, 2. Guaranteeing that everyone has access to health care is very important, 3.  Americans live in fear of losing their health care coverage, and finally, 4. Public attitudes on reform are reminiscent of those in 1993.

Blog Post Launching Our Bi-weekly Public Opinion Roundup

As President Barack Obama was assuming office in January, 93% of Americans said that restoring public trust in government should be a top priority (63%) or an important but lower priority (30%) for the new President. Take it as an absolute value, this is a stunningly high percentage; put it in comparison with the other seventeen (widely discussed) issues tested in an AP-Gfk survey, and you will find out that only improving the economy, creating more jobs, making the government more efficient and increasing the country’s independence scored higher.

It’s good to be reminded that people crave trust in government — despite well coordinated efforts that tell a different story. I won’t debate here the relationship of the individual to the “state” (an Aristotelian term in loan) but, in my bi-weekly visits to The Opportunity Agenda blog, I will translate the latest findings on public attitudes on public policy issues, voting patterns and trends, elections and elected officials.

Blog Post Emerging Research on Health Care as a Human Right: They Get It

And by "they", we mean the very audiences we need in order to change the conversation about health in this country:  politically active moderates and liberals.  Recent focus groups with these audiences show an apparently growing comfort with not only declaring health as a human right, but also in recognizing what that would mean to health care reform. 

Blog Post New Immigration Reports

The Opportunity Agenda has three new immigration reports:
(Click on the titles for access to the entire report.)

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