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The Antidote to Authoritarianism: How an Organizing Revival Can Build a Multiracial Pluralistic Democracy and an Inclusive Economy

May 23, 2023

How can we build a multiracial and pluralistic democracy with an inclusive economy to defeat the rise of authoritarianism? This question is front and center for People's Action Institute and our allies. How can we strengthen our democracy, when some feel it fails them, and others want to eliminate it? In our new White Paper, The Antidote to Authoritarianism, People's Action Institute takes this crisis by the horns. Through in-depth conversations with 27 of the most experienced and thoughtful leaders who build power among the multiracial poor and working class – current and former directors of national networks for social change, academics, philanthropists and on-the-ground organizers engaged in the defense of civil society – we explore current challenges and chart the path towards a shared solution.

Understanding the Partisan Divide: How Demographics and Policy Views Shape Party Coalitions

February 6, 2023

To win congressional majorities, Democratic and Republican parties must stitch together coalitions that are broad enough to accommodate their stronghold districts and swing districts, but distinct enough to differentiate themselves from each other. How each party builds these coalitions depends, in part, on the demographic characteristics and policy views of voters in districts where they garner most support and how these overlap with voters in competitive districts.In this report, we show how Democratic and Republican districts differ from each other and where they overlap with competitive districts. Democratic districts tend to be more affluent and more diverse than Republican districts, which are mostly poorer and predominantly white. Competitive districts comprise roughly equal shares of districts that are more and less affluent than the district average, but they tend to be whiter than the average district. The winner-take-all electoral system accentuates these differences and reduces the diverse constellation of districts to a binary. This results in an inadequate representation of voters in districts that are far from the median Democratic or Republican district.

Defusing the History Wars: Finding Common Ground in Teaching America’s National Story

December 1, 2022

Our recent survey found that people have more in common than they think when it comes to their opinions on U.S. history. However, they incorrectly think members of the opposing party have views much different than they do - this is called a perception gap and it creates imagined enemies of their fellow Americans.

Undecided Voters: Who They Are, What They Want, and How They Decide Our Politics

November 7, 2022

Every election cycle, campaigns try to persuade undecided voters to support their side. Whether undecided voters are receptive to campaigns and how they end up voting—if they turn out at all—often proves pivotal in deciding elections. But who are these undecided voters and what policies do they want? Using a rich public opinion dataset, we analyze the demographics and policy preferences of undecided voters and how they differ from partisan voters. Undecided voters tend to be younger, have lower levels of educational attainment, and lower household incomes compared to Democratic and Republican voters. Undecided voters are also less interested in politics and largely equivocal about the Democratic and Republican parties. In terms of policy, undecided voters are not unified by shared positions towards social and economic issues. Instead, they have many different combinations of policy preferences, making it challenging to determine what they want from politics. Reforms like fusion balloting or proportional representation could allow for the emergence of new parties that could find ways to engage and provide better representation for these voters.

INN Index 2022: The State of Nonprofit News

July 27, 2022

Nonprofit news is driving sustained, multi-year growth, and the number of outlets providing local coverage has rapidly increased over the past four years, according to the 2022 INN Index Report.New data from the INN Index 2022, the fifth annual survey of nonprofit news organizations across North America, offers a look at the sector's trends, opportunities and challenges in the years ahead. The INN Index 2022 is based on 2021 data from 93% of INN's membership.

CIRCLE Growing Voters: Building Institutions and Community Ecosystems for Equitable Election Participation

June 13, 2022

The CIRCLE Growing Voters report introduces and details a paradigm-shifting framework for developing the next generation of voters. Based on rigorous, comprehensive research, including findings from an exclusive survey of teens, it serves as a guide for every institution and community to play a role in this work. The report includes actionable recommendations for educators, organizers, policymakers, journalists, funders, families, young leaders, and more. Only by working together can we close voting gaps, expand the electorate, and support a more equitable and representative American democracy.

Toward Ethical Technology: Framing Human Rights in the Future of Digital Innovation

March 28, 2022

The health of our American democracy depends upon equitable and safe digital spaces. This report examines and synthesizes intersectional movements to build better, more inclusive, and humane technologies. It also introduces a set of principles and inclusive frameworks to help platform, product, and policy leaders conceptualize intentional ethical technology that is responsive to the needs of impacted communities and shape meaningful interventions for systems-level shifts at the intersections of technology and human rights. Rights x Tech is a forum and community that explicitly explores the intersections of technology and power. It brings together technologists, policymakers, and movement leaders for dialogue and solution-building on emerging issues around human rights, products, and power.

Learning from Digital Democracy Initiative Grantees

January 20, 2022

Democracy Fund's Digital Democracy Initiative (DDI) and its grantees are radically reimagining what it looks like to make platforms accountable to the American public and renew public interest media.To support this work, the team's evaluation and learning partner, ORS Impact, conducted learning conversations with DDI grantees in September and October 2021 to understand:How grantees have responded to the past yearWhat it would take to better center racial equity in DDI's strategy and in grantees' workWhere grantees see opportunities in the current momentThe report summarizes findings about these three topics within and across learning conversations and raises considerations for funders about how to better center racial equity in their grant making, how to better support their grantees, and opportunities ripe for investment. The report encourages funders to reflect on these considerations and how they might be applicable to their strategy.

Tempered expectations and hardened divisions a year into the Biden presidency

December 1, 2021

Joe Biden entered the presidency in January aiming to strengthen American democracy by delivering popular policies and reducing partisan enmity. A year later, he convened a democracy summit to address the challenges that rising authoritarianism poses around the world. Here at home, however, the promise of unity has faded and our democratic vulnerabilities remain.In this report, we describe the findings from parallel surveys we conducted November 5–19, 2021 among political science experts and the public to gauge the status of our democracy and the prospects for reforms that might improve it.

Nonprofit News Fact Sheets

September 1, 2021

The Index is the most comprehensive study of nonprofit news. INN's latest Index Report found that the nonprofit news sector grew by almost every measure. During a year of crises, audiences swelled, coverage expanded, staffing measures increased, and individual giving revenue surged for many. Previous Index reports are archived.

Crisis of Confidence: How Election 2020 Was Different

June 24, 2021

This report examines new data from Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape and the Democracy Fund VOTER Survey (Views of the Electorate Research Survey) to better understand voter confidence in the 2020 presidential election. The data suggest that voter confidence in the 2020 election was indeed different — and that continued doubts about election integrity among many Republicans raise concerns about the future.

Theft Perception: Examining the Views of Americans Who Believe the 2020 Election was Stolen

June 3, 2021

This report utilizes survey data to better understand the viewpoints of Americans who believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen. The September and November 2020 VOTER Surveys (Views of the Electorate Research Survey) was conducted in partnership with the survey firm YouGov. In total, 5,900 adults (age 18 and up) took the survey online between August 28, 2020 and September 28, 2020. Of those 5,900 respondents, 4,943 were reinterviewed after the election between November 13, 2020 and December 7, 2020. Many of these respondents were long-term panelists originally interviewed by YouGov in 2011-2012 as part of the Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project (CCAP) and then again in the December 2016 VOTER Survey. In total, 3,750 of these long-term panelists participated in the September 2020 wave and 3,340 participated in the November 2020 wave.