Understanding Public Opinion

Understanding Public Opinion

Condoleezza Rice On Understanding Public Opinion

The Hoover Institution conducts two bi-annual polls that measure the political attitudes of voters, their reactions to their leader’s policy decisions, and their beliefs about the direction of America.


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Both Democrats and Republicans are populist in the sense that they distrust the political process at the moment, primarily because they think the other party is somewhat illegitimate and corrupt. Beyond these general issues, there are specific institutions that garner significantly more support from one party over the other. For instance, Democrats tend to have positive views of universities and the media, whereas Republicans are extremely negative on those. The institutions Republicans have greater trust in are the military and, to a lesser extent, business. Democrats have tended to historically distrust the military, although these negative views have decreased in recent years.

Senior Fellow Douglas Rivers

Hoover Institution Q&A, March 2, 2022

Sixty-two percent of Democrats think that elites should govern, as opposed to just six percent of Republicans. There is a lot of populist sentiment right now in the Western world, by and large because of the rush to globalization. In that rush, a lot of people have been left behind in the United States and Europe. These segments are most favorably disposed toward candidates who champion populist positions.

Davies Family Senior Fellow David Brady

Hoover Institution Q&A, December 7, 2022

Today, Democrats stand for liberal policies and Republicans for conservative ones. The two parties have sorted in a way that resembles the Christian Democrat and Social Democratic parties of Europe or British Labour and British Tories in the United Kingdom in much of the twentieth century. Historically, we had big heterogeneous parties that overlapped each other ideologically. But no more. It is a historical development that I do not think we fully understand, but it has enormous ramifications for our politics.

Senior Fellow Morris Fiorina

Hoover Institution Q&A, December 7, 2021


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