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What is the true state of American political opinion? New research challenges assumptions.
It’s often said that America is as politically divided as it has ever been. In this week’s show, we dive into the data from two different groups that study American attitudes. What they discovered challenges many assumptions about the current state of US politics, and offers us a sense of context missing from noisy ‘us versus them’ type arguments.
John Geer of Vanderbilt University discusses the latest findings from Vanderbilt’s Unity Index, which tracks Americans’ trust in institutions and democracy. Kate Carney, chief of staff at More in Common in Washington DC, talks about the group’s ‘Speaking to the Exhausted Majority’ report. Both reports are examples of deep research into the state of American public opinion and where common ground may lie.
We discuss the extent to which US democracy is under threat, who really makes up the ‘exhausted majority’ of American voters, and what liberals and conservatives get wrong about the other side.
Tune in to hear more on this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground.
Read the Episode Transcript
John G. Geer is the Ginny and Conner Searcy Dean of the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University and a professor of political science. Geer helped to launch and currently manages the Vanderbilt Project on Unity & Democracy, a trans-institutional initiative that aims to overcome political polarization through sound research and evidence-based discourse. Geer is a founder of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and now co-directs the influential Vanderbilt Poll, which launched in January 2011. Geer has published five books and more than 20 articles on presidential politics and elections, and previously served as editor of The Journal of Politics. Geer joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1995. He earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1986 and his bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College in 1980. Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, he was on the faculty at Arizona State University.
Kate is Chief of Staff at More in Common US, a non-partisan research and civic organization that studies the forces pulling America apart, seeking to disrupt polarization and forge a stronger sense of what Americans have in common. She has over a decade of multisector experience that includes policy advising on Capitol Hill, founding a nonprofit in Haiti, and leading corporate social responsibility programs at a Fortune 100 company. She also is a proud Gold Looper, having circumnavigated 8,000 miles of U.S. eastern waterways on a 31-foot trawler around the Great Loop. She has a MPP from University of Maryland and a BA from Ohio Wesleyan University, where she also serves on the Board of Trustees. Kate lives with her husband, Tim, in Washington, DC.