The Baker Poll

Better solutions through better understanding.

The Baker Poll, supported by the Knight Foundation, is a national poll that measures the relationship between trust in American national institutions, political polarization, technological change and support for our basic democratic principles.

Over the past several decades, trust in many of our most important national institutions has declined at the same that our partisan fights have become more vicious and our two major political parties have moved further ideologically apart. Meanwhile, technology has changed the national landscape in multiple ways. Among the consequences of this technological change is the fragmentation of the news industry and the rise of social media, which has transformed how people get information.

The Baker Poll seeks to build solutions for declining trust in institutions, greater political polarization and weakening support for democratic principles by better understanding these attitudes among the public and how they are connected to technological change. The Baker Poll is especially interested in going beyond closed-ended polling questions by also using open-ended questions in our nationally representative survey. This allows people to explain, in their own words, their thoughts on American national institutions and the state of our democracy.

The inaugural Baker Poll will be conducted in 2018. The Baker Poll is generously supported by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and by Patricia and Jon Baker.

The Director of the Baker Poll is Jonathan Ladd. He is an Associate Professor in the McCourt School of Public Policy and the Department of Government at Georgetown University. He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. His book about the history of trust in the national news media, Why Americans Hate the Media and How it Matters, won the Goldsmith Book Prize from Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy and the McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Policy Research.