The Left and Right Think They Live on Different Planets — New Data Shows They're More Like Next-Door Neighbors

Poll Reveals Common Ground on 6 Values and a Hidden Opportunity for Americans to Solve Problems Together 

NEW YORK, June 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Starts With Us™, a nonpartisan movement to overcome toxic tribalism and solve our most challenging problems, has released a new poll showing that an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans agree on six fundamental values but are skeptical that the “other side” shares these values. The poll, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago on behalf of Starts With Us, found that about 9 in 10 Democrats and Republicans say the following are very or extremely important to them:

  1. A government that is accountable to the people
  2. Fair and equal application of the rule of law
  3. A government that is representative of the people it serves
  4. Learning from the past to improve our country
  5. Personal responsibility and accountability for our actions
  6. Respect and compassion across differences

Many Democrats and Republicans, however, do not perceive this agreement, with only about one-third saying that members of the other political party would consider each of these values important. The poll also reveals Independents’ misperceptions, with only roughly one-third saying that Democrats and Republicans would consider the six values very or extremely important.


“It will be impossible for Americans to move from chaos to constructive progress unless we look across the aisle and see not an enemy, but a potential partner for change,” says Daniel Lubetzky, one of Starts With Us’ founders. “Opening our eyes to our shared fundamental values creates the basis for us to start working together to get problems solved.”

Not only do people agree on core values, but they also have a shared desire to solve problems, with overwhelming majorities of Republicans (82%) and Democrats (80%) saying it is very or extremely important for citizens to be involved in finding solutions to the problems facing the country.

In response to the data, as well as feedback from its growing movement of more than 1.6 million followers who are tired of division and dysfunction, Starts With Us, in collaboration with Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, is launching Citizen Solutions. This new initiative will bring citizens together to experience this hidden common ground for themselves and co-create solutions to seemingly immovable and unsolvable issues. 

“We know citizens are eager to take matters into their own hands, but they’re skeptical of their ability to make a meaningful difference,” says Ashley Phillips, Head of Programs at Starts With Us. “Citizen Solutions will give people a new way to make their voices — as well as the voice of consensus — heard in order to help prevent the most extreme voices from dominating news and policymaking.”

Through an innovative deliberative dialogue process, Citizen Solutions will convene a group of citizens with divergent views and an array of technical and lived experiences to develop state-level consensus proposals on issues such as gun safety, women’s health, and criminal justice reform. The proposals will then be shared digitally, empowering the public to weigh in and help produce a broad representation of the majority view. Eventually the public will be able to use the proposals as they’d like, including to increase media and politician accountability and to encourage leaders to make change.

“Our time-tested approach to collaborative dialogue consistently demonstrates that people of wildly divergent perspectives can find common ground on divisive issues,” says David Eisner, CEO and President of Convergence. “Together with Starts With Us, we’re excited to apply these methods to a scalable new model that empowers citizens to actively participate in our democracy and, in so doing, help America fully realize its potential.”

Citizen Solutions is part of a suite of Starts With Us programs addressing toxic tribalism. To learn more, visit

This nationwide poll was conducted May 11–15, 2023, using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,003 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.3 percentage points. The full question wording and results are available at

About Starts With Us

Starts With Us is a rapidly growing civic movement equipping Americans to overcome toxic tribalism and solve our most challenging problems. In addition to 1.6 million followers committed to engaging constructively across lines of difference, Starts With Us’ mission is supported by 220+ ideologically diverse leaders across a variety of industries — from sports, media, and entertainment to faith, academia, and business. To learn more, visit

About Convergence

Convergence is the leading organization bridging divides to solve critical issues through collaborative problem-solving across ideological, political, and cultural divisions. For a decade and a half, Convergence has brought together leaders, doers, and experts to build trusting relationships, identify breakthrough solutions, and form unlikely alliances for constructive consensus-based change on seemingly intractable issues. Convergence’s process is improving the lives of Americans and strengthening democracy for a more resilient and collaborative future. Learn more at

About NORC at the University of Chicago

NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge. NORC conducts research in five main areas: Economics, Markets, and the Workforce; Education, Training, and Learning; Global Development; Health and Well-Being; and Society, Media, and Public Affairs. Learn more at

Media contact is [email protected]

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SOURCE Starts With Us

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