Public Engagement in California Surveys
One of the greatest obstacles to public engagement and collaboration is the "fear factor." While both local government officials and civic leaders desire better engagement and affirm that public involvement can help solve some key problems, public officials fear low-turnout and processes hijacked by the "usual subjects," while community leaders and the public fear that their participation won't make a real impact on decision-making.
These were some of the findings in two comprehensive, statewide surveys – "Testing the Waters", a survey of local officials, and "Beyond Business as Usual", a survey of community based organization leaders - undertaken by Public Agenda, in partnership with the Institute for Local Government and the Davenport Institute and commissioned by the James Irvine Foundation.
Explore our research.
This is the full report of a survey of 900 California local officials. The survey was undertaken between July 10 and August 23, 2012 and sought the perspective of elected and appointed officials on opportunities for and obstacles to public engagement in California. View the executive summary.
This is the full report of a survey of 462 leaders of community-based organizations across California. The survey was undertaken between July 10 and August 23, 2012 and sought the perspective of civic leaders on opportunities for and obstacles to public engagement in California. View the executive summary.
Here is a helpful infographic that provides a summary of the findings from both studies, including areas of common ground that may provide the basis for stronger civic engagement in California.