Our first “Beyond the Beltway” study shows that Congress is held in low regard and the inability to get things done is a major concern of voters no matter who controls the majority. However, this report shows that while voters outside the beltway may have partisan preferences, Washington’s partisan lines are not necessarily relevant to voters when they are thinking about solutions to problems. Instead, we found that voters, regardless of ideology, are willing to support ideas that cross partisan lines.

As a result, there are many areas where Washington could improve its image with voters who are disgusted with gridlock and make progress. Most notably, despite job growth and falling unemployment, a majority of voters believe that the national economy is still on the wrong track and are looking for action. When it comes to taxes, there is broad support from conservatives, moderates and liberals for a middle class tax cut, but also for measures that would seem to span ideological divides like raising taxes on the wealthy and cutting corporate taxes to make American businesses more competitive.

This survey also shows troubling findings for racial unity in the country and the American justice system. A quarter of African Americans view racism as the number one challenge facing the country. While Americans generally support their local police, 40% of voters overall agreed with the statement that the acquittal of officers involved in Ferguson and Staten Island show that America’s law enforcement system treats African Americans differently than white Americans. Over 80% of African Americans agree that recent decisions by grand juries in Staten Island and Ferguson indicate that the law enforcement system treats blacks and white differently, as did a majority of Hispanics and a majority of voters under 40 years old.

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