Better Angels Program Evaluation: Key Findings

Survey data gathered from about 1,800 Americans experiencing Better Angels programs through August of 2018 yield the following key findings.
 
You can read the full report here.

 

In Red / Blue Workshops:

 

1.     About 79 percent of participants report that as a result of the experience they are better able to “understand the experiences, feelings, and beliefs of those on the other side of the political spectrum” and more than 70 percent say that they feel more “understood by those on the other side of the political divide.” 

2.     About three of every four participants report that as a result of the experience they feel “less estranged or angry” with those on the other side and about the same proportion say that the experience caused them to “learn something that might be helpful to nation.”

In Skills Workshops:

3.     Nearly 8 out of 10 participants feel that the experience caused them to feel more able to  “start constructive conversations” with individuals on the other side of the political divide and about the same proportion say that as a result of the experience they feel better able to “understand the experiences, feelings, and beliefs” of those on the other side.

In Better Angels Debates:

4.     More than 70 percent of participants in community-based debates say that the experience caused them to have “more understanding of other viewpoints,” about the same proportion say that they “learned something that might be helpful to others,” and more than three of four participants report that they want to follow up on relationships begun in the debate. 

5.     Pre- and post-debate series surveys of high-school-age debate participants show, among conservative students, a 10 percent increase in the number viewing liberals as “generally good people,” and among liberal students, a 15 percent increase in the number viewing conservatives as “generally good people.”

6.     Pre- and post-debate series surveys of high school participants show, among conservative students, a 6 percent increase in the number of those saying that liberals have “valid viewpoints on important issues,” and among liberal students, a 10 percent increase in the number of those saying that conservatives have “valid viewpoints on important issues.”

Source: Jane Jacobs, et al., Participant-Identified Effects of Better Angels Experiences (October 2019).  

Read the full report.