Civic Health Index

Posted by on October 6, 2008

Civic Health Index Finds Overwhelming Support for Public Deliberation on Key Issues

The third Civic Health Index, a public opinion survey studying the level of democratic engagement among Americans, confirmed the obvious current excitement about this year’s presidential elections and showed broad support for measures to increase democratic engagement among Americans. The Civic Health Index, intended to measure public attitudes about a broad set of democratic engagement issues, was developed from 1,005 telephone surveys and 1,000 respondents to an online panel. The results were released at the National Conference on Citizenship, convened in Washington, DC on September 22.

One of the most notable findings in this third survey was that 80 percent of Americans supported the involvement of “more than one million Americans in a national discussion of an important public issue and requiring Congress to respond to what the citizens say.” America Speaks and others have championed the national deliberation proposal. It was included in a package of proposals advanced this past summer at a conference of democracy reformers convened by Demos, America Speaks and Everyday Democracy. The proposal was also endorsed by Senator John Edwards during his 2008 presidential campaign. Public dialogues, a form of direct democracy, have been organized used in many communities to achieve broader consensus on critical issues and are attracting increasing attention across the nation.

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