Independent Public Polls Debunk Conventional Wisdom
That Americans Agree With Conservative Agenda
Report attached as PDF or available online at:
Washington, D.C. – Today, Media Matters for America and Campaign for America’s Future released a special report, “The Progressive Majority: Why a Conservative America is a Myth,” documenting how the conventional wisdom that Americans are overwhelmingly conservative is fundamentally false. Through decades of public opinion data from nonpartisan sources, the report shows the majority of Americans hold progressive positions on a broad range of issues.
“This report shows that on issue after issue, most Americans agree with progressives and have for decades, despite what we hear from the media.” said David Brock, President and CEO of Media Matters. “The conventional wisdom advanced by the media -- that the United States is becoming more and more conservative -- has been debunked repeatedly by independent public polling, but that hasn’t stopped them from perpetuating this clearly flawed perception.”
Media Matters and Campaign for America’s Future conducted this study by examining the past 20 years of independent, nonpartisan polling data from sources such as the American National Election Studies (NES), the General Social Survey (GSS), and Gallup polls. By compiling all of this data, we have examined not only the top-level conclusions, but the underlying questions asked in each survey.
- The role of government -- 69 percent of Americans believe the government “should care for those who can’t care for themselves”; twice as many people (43 percent vs. 20 percent) want “government to provide many more services even if it means an increase in spending” as want government to provide fewer services “in order to reduce spending.”
- The economy -- 77 percent of Americans think Congress should increase the minimum wage; 66 percent believe “upper-income people” pay too little in taxes; 53 percent feel the Bush administration’s tax cuts have failed because they have increased the deficit and caused cuts in government programs.
- Social issues -- 61 percent of Americans support embryonic stem cell research; 62 percent want to protect Roe v. Wade; only 3 percent of Americans rank same-sex marriage as the “most important” social issue.
- Security -- 43 percent of Americans say we are spending too much on our military; 60 percent feel the federal government should do more about restricting the kinds of guns that people can purchase.
- The environment -- 75 percent of Americans would be wiling to pay more for electricity if it were generated by renewable sources to help reduce global warming; 79 percent want higher emissions standard for automobiles.
- Energy -- 52 percent of Americans believe “the best way for the U.S. to reduce its reliance on foreign oil” is to “have the government invest in alternative energy sources”; 68 percent of the public thinks U.S. energy policy is better solved by conservation than production.
- Immigration -- 57 percent of Americans feel “most recent immigrants to the U.S. contribute to this country” rather than “cause problems.” Sixty-seven percent of Americans feel that “on the whole,” immigration is a “good thing for this country today.”
- Health care -- 69 percent of Americans think it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have access to health coverage; 76 percent find access to health care more important than maintaining the Bush tax cuts; three in five would be willing to have their own taxes increased to achieve universal coverage.