In September 2019, America in One Room (A1R) brought together a nationally representative sample of 523 registered voters for a bipartisan discussion about the most important issues of the 2020 presidential election. NORC at the University of Chicago partnered with Stanford University, By the People Productions, and Helena to recruit the representative sample and conduct pre-and post-event surveys.
The 2019 A1R event used a survey method called Deliberative Polling® that measures public opinion on core issues before and after an event. The issues discussed at A1R—immigration, the economy, health care, the environment, and foreign policy—were chosen based on data from a previous NORC survey on top priorities for U.S. voters in the 2020 elections.
A1R employed an experimental design using treatment and control groups. Members of the treatment group were invited to participate in A1R as a delegate. Members of the control group were not. Both groups comprised a nationally representative sample of registered voters selected using stratified random sampling from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak® Panel. We surveyed the treatment and control groups before and after the event. The surveys were designed to measure shifts in opinion and knowledge that might occur between their fielding. The result was an unprecedented, scientific look at what Americans really believe when given a chance to think deeply and engage with different opinions.
Participation was voluntary. Participants could withdraw their consent or discontinue participation at any time without penalty or loss of benefits to which they were otherwise entitled. Like other studies conducted by NORC, participants had the right to refuse to answer particular questions, and their privacy was maintained in all published data from the study.
A1R 2021: Climate and Energy
In September 2021, a new group of A1R delegates will convene virtually to discuss policy options for climate and energy. Their discussions will take place in two formats: small representative groups and plenary sessions, where the group will convene as a single unit to ask questions of a bipartisan selection of policy experts. These public deliberations will focus on possible options for reaching Net Zero, the point at which we would no longer be adding to the total of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Results should be available before the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on October 31, 2021.
NORC will recruit A1R 2021 participants through stratified random sampling to achieve a national sample of about 500, with additional oversamples for California and Texas, and a comparably sized control group representative of the entire 18+ general U.S. population. Participants will deliberate among themselves in a thoughtful, civil, and substantive fashion.