Media and democracy: unpacking America’s complex views on the digital public square
Are internet technologies doing more harm than good to our democracy? And what – if anything – should lawmakers do about it?
As these questions are critical to U.S. elections, democracy and public health, Gallup and the Knight Foundation sought American views on the way forward.
Surprisingly, Americans’ opinions did not always follow party lines when it comes to Internet regulation. In fact, half of Americans occupy a diverse middle ground, a Gallup/Knight survey of 10,000 adults found, offering a new lens on the national conversation on free expression online.
This study is the product of nearly a year of research that included a survey of more than 10,000 Americans and in-depth conversations with focus groups. The report identifies six distinct segments in the American public who differ in their posture toward internet reform. Their attitudes are richly linked to considerations beyond political affiliation, including opinions on the trade-offs of unrestrained free speech online, their assessments of the state of our democracy, their political engagement, and their general use of and opinions about the internet.