WASHINGTON – The conventional wisdom that Americans are overwhelmingly conservative is fundamentally false, according to a new report released today by the Campaign for America’s Future and Media Matters for America. The report shows that a majority of Americans have held progressive positions on a broad range of controversial issues for decades.
Campaign for America’s Future co-director Robert Borosage noted that thousands of progressives gathering in Washington next week for his group’s “Take Back America” conference will be emboldened by the report’s findings.
“Americans are looking for bold leadership that will take our country in a new direction,” said Borosage. “With the conservative movement in disarray, it’s no surprise that progressive ideas are driving the national debate now.”
By analyzing the underlying questions from surveys by the American National Election Studies (NES), the General Social Survey (GSS), Gallup polls and other nonpartisan sources, the study found that most Americans agree with progressives. Key findings follow.
ON 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.
ON ENERGY POLICY: 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.
ON THE ECONOMY: Seventy-seven percent of Americans believe 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.
ON GOVERNMENT’S ROLE: 69 percent of Americans believe the government “should care for those who can’t care for themselves.” Twice as many people (43 percent to 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.”
**NOTE: An electronic copy of the complete report is available at www.ourfuture.org. **