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Dr. Sybil Francis on Bridging Divides: Finding Common Ground Among Americans!

Data Shows America is Not As Divided as you believe

Bridging Divides: Finding Common Ground Among Americans

In a time of heightened political polarization, it's easy to believe that Americans are deeply divided on major policy issues. However, an eye-opening podcast episode featuring Dr. Sybil Francis, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, sheds light on an entirely different perspective. Dr. Francis, associated with the Center for the Future of Arizona, reveals compelling research that uncovers areas of agreement among Arizonans on significant topics. This blog post delves into the key points discussed in the podcast and highlights the Center's efforts to promote unity, bridge divides, and restore optimism in America.

Recognizing Agreement Over Disagreement:

The Center for the Future of Arizona, under Dr. Francis's guidance, conducts extensive polling and research to identify shared public values among Arizonans. Contrary to common belief, the research shows that there is much more agreement than disagreement on critical issues such as education, immigration, healthcare, sustainability, and elections/voting. For instance, a staggering 86% of respondents support comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship for Dreamers. This finding challenges the notion that Americans are deeply divided on these topics.

Extreme Voices and the Primary Election System:

Despite the overwhelming consensus among the majority, extreme voices at the partisan fringes tend to dominate the political debate, garnering significant attention and influence. Driven by the primary election system, candidates often prioritize appealing to their partisan base rather than the broader majority. This contributes to the distortion of the political landscape and reinforces the perception of deep divisions.

The Power of Ranked-Choice Voting and Changing Attitudes:

To address the disconnect between the majority's views and political representation, Dr. Francis and Paul Johnson discuss potential solutions, one of which is ranked-choice voting in open primaries. By adopting this system, leaders elected would be more representative of the majority's preferences, promoting a healthier and more inclusive political environment.

However, the Center's mission goes beyond proposing electoral reforms. Dr. Francis emphasizes the importance of changing mental models and attitudes based on data. Their goal is to provide accurate information that challenges the prevailing narrative of deep divisions, spread hope, and restore optimism among the public.

The Center for the Future of Arizona's Nonpartisan Approach:

A crucial aspect of the Center's work is its commitment to nonpartisanship. Their focus on quality research and illuminating what Arizonans genuinely care about sets them apart from divisive narratives perpetuated by some media outlets and politicians. Additionally, the Center implements an "action agenda" with programs in education, workforce development, and civic engagement, striving to create positive change and unity.


In a time when political polarization seems to dominate the headlines, the podcast episode featuring Dr. Sybil Francis and Paul Johnson offers a refreshing perspective. By highlighting areas of agreement among Arizonans on major policy issues, the Center for the Future of Arizona promotes the notion that Americans are not as divided as they might seem. Their nonpartisan approach and dedication to bridging divides through research, ranked-choice voting, and changing mental models offer hope for a more united and optimistic America. As citizens, we can draw inspiration from this initiative and work towards finding common ground to heal divisions and create a brighter future for our nation.

Hierarchy of Agency

Know The Truth! By presenting research from the Center for the Future of Arizona, Dr. Francis sheds light on the fact that Americans are not as divided as commonly believed, particularly on issues like education, immigration, and the environment. Embracing the truth about common ground among Americans empowers individuals to take agency in shaping a more optimistic and united future. By recognizing the truth about our collective beliefs and values, we can all work together to bridge divides and restore optimism in our nation.

Hierarchy of Agency


Don't Forget To Watch The Full Episode Here!


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