State of the American Electorate in 2017

This report on the State of the American Electorate in 2017 was commissioned as a part of Voice’s ongoing efforts to better understand the evolving views and values that are driving the American electorate.

Through analysis of both qualitative and quantitative research performed by The Winston Group in May and June of 2017, this report:

  • Uncovers some of the most significant underlying factors that are fueling hyper-partisanship, nativism, racism, distrust of government, and other cultural anxieties among the public;
  • Identifies areas of potential consensus, including shared beliefs, concerns, and desired outcomes that could be leveraged to help overcome our deep divisions; and
  • Raises new questions about conflicting beliefs and values and what those conflicts mean for the future of our government, political parties, and democracy.

The qualitative research part of this project consisted of four focus groups: Republicans, women with children, Independents, and middle-income voters. The quantitative research included an online survey of 1,000 registered voters. Analysis in this report is based on how voters self-identified their ideology on the national survey—including ‘very/somewhat conservative’ voters, ‘moderates’, and ‘very/somewhat liberal’ voters.

Download a PDF of the report: “2017 State of the Electorate”

These findings are by no means definitive answers to the challenges facing our political system, nor do the findings or views expressed in this report reflect those of Democracy Fund Voice.

Democracy Fund Voice remains committed to supporting research that helps leaders from across the political spectrum engage with voters in ways that address underlying anxieties and frustrations and help promote a deeper understanding of an increasingly diverse and divided America.



David Winston is the president of The Winston Group. Winston has been an advisor to Senate and House Republican leadership for the past 15 years and was the Director of Planning for then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. He advises center-right political parties throughout Europe and was the keynote speaker at the 2012 G8 Presiding Officer summit.

In the business sector, he advises Fortune 100 companies on strategic planning, brand reputation, and public policy issues; he has conducted public policy research for foundations and non-profit organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Congressional Institute. He was also a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation where he specialized in statistical policy analysis and econometric modeling.

Winston has lectured widely including The Wharton of School of Business, MIT, Harvard, and the National War College. His writings have appeared in a variety of publications, including the International Wall Street Journal, Brookings Review, The Brown Journal of World Affairs, and The Washington Post. He is credited for originating the concept of “security mom.”

Winston is currently an election analyst for CBS News and a contributing author to Democracy Fund’s Voter Study Group.