The Democracy Fund Voter Study Group is a research collaboration of more than two dozen analysts and scholars from across the political spectrum examining and delivering insights on the evolving views of American voters.

As the 2016 presidential campaign unfolded, it became increasingly clear that the underlying values and beliefs driving voter decisions need to be better understood. To that end, Henry Olsen and Joe Goldman convened a politically diverse group of conservative, progressive, and independent public opinion experts to study the electorate together. The group sought not to achieve consensus, but to engage in discussion about how the views of the electorate are evolving and what the implications of those changes may be.

The group first reviewed existing research and identified additional questions that required study. The 2016 VOTER Survey (Views of the Electorate Research Survey) was the study group’s first original research. In partnership with YouGov, Voter Study Group continues polling large subsets of the American electorate to allow for deep exploration of, and tracking of any shifts in their beliefs about important issues. Voter Study Group members analyze the VOTER Survey data through a variety of social and political lenses, and either author, or partner to co-author, reports that convey their insights. Each report represents the views of the author(s), rather than the broader Voter Study Group, but is reviewed by members from both sides of the political spectrum before being shared with the media and peers to better engage the public in meaningful conversations.

The Democracy Fund Voter Study Group is led by project director, Henry Olsen; research director, John Sides; Joe Goldman and Lauren Strayer; and supported by report editor, Karlyn Bowman; and project manager, Alicia Kolar Prevost.

Our Mission

The research of the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group is designed to help policy makers and thought leaders listen more closely, and respond more powerfully, to the views of American voters. Our goal is to have more productive conversations where voters feel like they are truly heard. We hope the study group’s research and analysis helps us understand each other and make our democracy more functional.

Methodology Summary

In partnership with the survey firm YouGov, the 2016 and 2017 VOTER Surveys interviewed up to 8,000 Americans who had been previously interviewed both in 2011-2012 and in July 2016. (View the Methodology for the 2017 VOTER Survey or the 2016 VOTER Survey.) The 2018 VOTER Survey interviewed 6,005 Americans between April 5 and May 14, 2018 —4,705 of whom have been interviewed previously and 1,300 of whom were part of an additional sample of 18 to 24-year-olds and Hispanics. (View the Methodology for the 2018 VOTER Survey.)

Publication Disclaimer

The Democracy Fund Voter Study Group project is made possible through support from Democracy Fund. The views and opinions on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Democracy Fund, nor of all Voter Study Group participants.


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