RAND researchers asked a nationally representative sample of adults about their news-consumption habits. The answers reveal clues about what it might take to address Truth Decay—the decline of facts in U.S. public life.
The deadly mob assault on the U.S. Capitol Building was a predictable possibility. Democracy held, but security failed, spectacularly. We need to be better prepared for future acts of political violence.
The audacity of the rioters at the U.S. Capitol and the violence they perpetrated should have no place in the political process, although tragically, and all too often, violence finds its home in the United States.
Trust in the government, news media, and other institutions has declined in the past two decades. What factors might explain this decline? And what else do we need to learn in order to begin rebuilding public trust?
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the confinement measures imposed in response, holding safe, effective, and timely democratic elections has become increasingly challenging. The risk of disenfranchising large parts of the electorate is real and should be prevented. In these difficult circumstances, governments need to increase their efforts to guarantee that every voter can exercise their right to vote.
The number of Americans who expect the election to be conducted safely declined slightly from May to August, from 62 to 60 percent. And the percentage of survey respondents expecting their vote to be accurately counted declined from 59 percent to 54 percent.
Changes in intention to vote and intended voting method were modest from May to August but notable nonetheless. Those with low perceptions of safety were among the least likely to vote. And among those likely to vote, there was a continued shift toward mail-in voting.
This appendix provides additional methodological and research material for two reports that summarize results of an August 2020 survey of Americans' attitudes about voting in November 2020. The August survey is a follow-up to one conducted in May.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the U.S. election into disarray coming on top of disruptions to traditional campaigning and the increased burden on election officials. Still, with careful planning, the election can be held with integrity, while keeping the American electorate safe. But it will require everyone to help.
Truth Decay is the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life, and it cuts much deeper than any political party or demographic. It's why nonpartisan think tanks like RAND are as important now as they have ever been.
Russian propaganda is hitting its mark on social media—generating strong partisan reactions that may help intensify political divisions—but Facebook users are less apt to press the “like” button on content when they learn that it is part of a foreign propaganda campaign.
Russian propaganda is hitting its mark on social media, generating strong partisan reactions that help intensify political divisions. But Facebook users are less apt to press the like button on content when they learn that it is part of a foreign propaganda campaign.
After the 2016 U.S. election it became clear that Russian agents had engaged in online efforts to sow chaos and inflame partisan divides among Americans. Interference is happening again now. It includes posts from trolls—fake personas spreading hyper-partisan themes—and superconnectors designed to spread messages quickly.
A coordinated effort on Twitter to influence the upcoming U.S. presidential election—using trolls (fake personas that spread hyper-partisan themes) and super-connectors (highly-networked accounts)—aims to sow distrust, exacerbate political divisions and undermine confidence in American democracy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has roiled the elections. The United States is deeply divided and the political system is polarized. Under these fraught circumstances, even a minor event can have far-reaching repercussions. What are the prospects for domestic terrorism in the context of U.S. elections?
In this campaign season, Russia might try to manipulate U.S. voters through social media as it did in 2016. New technologies have made these efforts easier. Russia's tactics aim to polarize Americans, create distrust, and paralyze the political process. What is the best defense against them?