On issues ranging from health care to energy, the public is more progressive than people think. Demographic groups from youth to Hispanics are voting farther left and in larger numbers than ever before. The new report the Campaign for America’s Future is publishing with Media Matters for America—"America: A Center-Left Nation" -- documents the trends and challenges the mainstream media to recognize reality.
Sources for this Report
The report relies on high quality, nonpartisan sources. Baseline information comes from the American National Election Studies (NES) maintained by the University of Michigan, along with Pew Research Center and Gallup. Additional detail comes from polls by mainstream organizations such as CNN and The New York Times.
The American people are surprisingly progressive. Surveys on individual issues show the way:
Government is not the problem. The authoritative new National Election Studies reveals why the conservative attack doesn’t resonate as it used to. Two-thirds of Americans (66 percent) say “there are more things the government should be doing.” Why? Because “the problems we face have become bigger” (62 percent). Only one third (32 percent) say, “the less government the better.”
Regulation of industry makes ideology concrete. Conservatives downsized government until it hurt. Salmonella in our tomatoes, melamine in our pet food, financial instruments worth less than the paper they’re printed on. People miss the cop on the beat.
• “Government regulation of business …” — Pew Research Center, October 2008.
“… is needed to protect public interest”: 50 percent
“…usually does more harm than good”: 38 percent
The proportion has almost exactly flipped since conservatives started their anti-regulation crusade.
Health care brings government home. Health care is a #1 issue, and people don’t want government to get out of the way. They want it to help.
• “Do you think it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have health care coverage?” — Gallup, Nov. 16, 2008.
Yes: 54 percent
No: 41 percent
• “Should the government in Washington provide national health insurance, or is this something that should be left only to private enterprise” — CBS News/New York Times, Jan. 11-15, 2009
Government: 72 percent
Private enterprise: 32 percent
• "In general, would you favor or oppose a program that would increase the federal government's influence over the country's health care system in an attempt to lower costs and provide health care coverage to more Americans?"— CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Feb. 18-19, 2009
Favor: 72 percent
Oppose: 27 percent
Energy also requires government attention. Higher fuel prices weren’t enough to turn the market — at least not at a rate that will keep up with global warming and instability in the Middle East.
• Would you prefer the government to increase, decrease, or not change the financial support and incentives it gives for producing energy from alternative sources such as wind and solar? —Gallup, March 5-8, 2009.
Increase: 77 percent
Decrease: 8 percent
• “Would you approve or disapprove of a proposal that would require companies to reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming, even if it would mean higher utility bills for consumers to pay for the changes?” — NBC News/Wall Street Journal, April 23-26, 2009
Approve: 53 percent
Reducing Deficit: 40 percent
Taxes are not the problem. According to Gallup’s poll on tax day April 15, more people consider their tax payments “about right” than “too high” (48 to 46 percent),