WASHINGTON – Progressives gathered at this week’s “America’s Future Now” conference found a lot to like in President Obama’s first 100 days, but they are very focused on health care reform as their highest priority, according to a straw poll of participants conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for the Campaign for America’s Future and Democracy Corps. Pollster Stan Greenberg joined Campaign for America’s Future co-director Robert Borosage at the closing session of the three-day conference today to release the poll results.
Forty-three percent of conference-goers said health care reform should be the president’s top priority, with all the other issue responses in the teens or lower. And while participants strongly support the president and his priorities, 63 percent said they will not support a health care plan without a public health insurance option, even if that is the only way to get the plan passed.
Fixing the nation’s broken health care system is the focus of an $82 million push by progressive groups announced earlier this week at the “America’s Future Now” conference. The combined effort is the largest national progressive issue campaign in history, one that was lacking when President Clinton’s health care proposals were defeated by the health care industry and conservative groups 15 years ago.
The straw poll also showed that while two thirds of conference attendees — 66 percent — favor congressional investigations into how the Bush Administration handled terrorist suspects, an even stronger majority — 81 percent — would like to see Congress investigate the fraud and excesses of Wall Street that led to the financial crisis.
Not surprisingly, Rush Limbaugh is incredibly unpopular with “America’s Future Now” conference participants. Greenberg said Limbaugh’s favorability rating — with only 3 percent of participants rating him favorably — represents the lowest personal rating of any poll he has conducted.
The straw poll also surveyed the popularity of key media figures. Jon Stewart bested Stephen Colbert in the favorability battery, with 83 percent of attendees rating Stewart favorably compared to 79 percent who did so for Colbert. Rachel Maddow was viewed more favorably than Keith Olbermann, with 70 and 68 percent rating Maddow and Olbermann warmly respectively.