This week, Helena, a new institution dedicated to addressing urgent social issues, the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University, NORC at the University of Chicago, and By The People Productions announced the results of their unprecedented Deliberative Polling event—" America in One Room ”—which convened a 523-person, statistically representative sampling of the U.S. electorate from September 19th - 22nd, 2019 in Dallas, Texas to discuss the most pressing 2020 issues.

"America in One Room" programming included small discussion groups, Q&A sessions with 2020 candidates, and conversations with top policy experts. All 523 participants filled out opinion surveys twice: once before and once after the three full days of issue briefings and deliberations. For the past two weeks, research teams evaluated the information they received from those 523 people to compare with the answers of 844 control group voters who did not attend the event. This week, the organizers of "America in One Room" officially presented their findings to the public, policymakers, and the media. Results found that voters—under the right conditions—are willing to keep an open mind and shift their opinions on divisive issues.

“During a time in which we face down some of the most critical decisions in our history, the country is supposedly more divided than ever. America in One Room proves that this doesn’t have to be the case,” said Henry Elkus, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Helena. “Again and again, the data showed that Americans of all genders, races, political parties, and socioeconomic classes can come together and build consensus, even on the most polarizing issues of our time.”

Jim Fishkin, Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford and Helena Member, said, “During ‘America in One Room’ we could see public opinion taking shape in real time over a long weekend. People of all backgrounds discussed the most difficult issues that have pulled us apart as a country. With civil discussion they came to understand and respect each other. After weighing all the arguments, this representative sample of voters came to some conclusions on the big issues we face. These conclusions deserve to be listened to by policymakers.”

"Even though I imagined there would be significant changes in opinion, the results far exceeded my expectations. From both ends of the political spectrum, there was movement toward greater moderation and prudence,” observed Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford and Helena Member. “Our participants left with much more hope for American democracy--and so did I."

The results showed that the more polarizing policy proposals further on the right typically lost support from Republicans and proposals further on the left typically lost support from Democrats.

  • Immigration: Support for forcing undocumented immigrants to return to their home countries before applying to legally come to the US fell from 45% to 25% among the participating voter group after deliberation.
  • Taxes & Economy: Support for increasing the federal minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour dropped from 54% to 39%; Support for Universal Basic Income fell from 17% to 10%.
  • Healthcare: Support for repealing the Affordable Care Act dropped from 35% to 25%; Medicare for All support fell from 48% to 40%.
  • Foreign Policy: Support for the US rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) skyrocketed from 47% to 74%.
  • Environment: Support for zero carbon emissions for vehicles fell from 66% to 55%; Support for using more taxes and market incentives to address climate change increased from 61% to 72%.

View the full results, voter briefing booklets, and other documents here: https://cdd.stanford.edu/2019/america-in-one-room-results/

Photos from "America in One Room" can be found here (credit: Helena): https://sunshinesachs.egnyte.com/fl/ZpxHJV3inu

Learn more about Helena at: http://helena.org | Follow on Instagram: @Helena

Niall Janney |helena@sunshinesachs.com| 323-822-9300



SOURCE: Helena

Copyright Business Wire 2019.

PUB: 10/03/2019 09:00 AM/DISC: 10/03/2019 09:01 AM

Copyright Business Wire 2019.