New Poll: Americans Have Turned Against Washington

Progressives Emboldened, Voters Want A Very Different Set of PrioritiesLeaders To Discuss Ideas To “Take Back America” Next Week

WASHINGTON – Americans have turned against Washington, according to a new national poll released today at a news conference sponsored by the Campaign for America’s Future at the National Press Club. The survey, conducted by Stan Greenberg for Democracy Corps and the Campaign for America’s Future, shows that only seven months after the election people are rejecting Republican priorities and looking for new ideas to solve America’s pressing problems. 

President Bush was elected in a closely contested election last November, and the country is now realizing the consequences of their choice. The results provide an important backdrop for the Campaign for America’s Future’s “Take Back America” conference next week – the largest progressive gathering since the elections.

Greenberg said voters want change in Washington, noting that an astonishing 70 percent say partisan bickering has gotten worse in recent years and, by 41 to 30 percent, they blame Republicans and President Bush.

“Washington has become a very ugly place in the last six months,” said Greenberg. “The signature policies of the conservative revolution are in deep trouble. Americans are looking for a very different set of priorities. They are open to very bold alternatives and a far more activist government.”

Campaign for America’s Future Co-director Robert Borosage joined Greenberg at the news conference. Borosage said Americans aren’t buying what President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, are peddling.

“The right wing is in control and out of control,” said Borosage. “Americans are getting mugged by reality. They are open to very bold solutions to their problems. This provides progressives with an opportunity to join the debate and offer Americans a real choice.”

The poll shows that the public’s rejection of Washington stems from their dislike of Republican ideas. By 57 to 33 percent, voters say Congress has the “wrong priorities” and is “not working on the issues that matter to me.” Voters want Democrats to stand up and provide a balance to the right-wing agenda.

The president has staked his future and his legacy on Iraq, tax cuts, and overhauling Social Security. On all three of these radical initiatives – pushed by the conservative movement – he has lost the confidence of the country and reached the lowest approval rating of his presidency.

Doubts about the Iraq war are driving the mood of the country. By 57 to 38 percent, voters think the war was not worth the cost in lives and in dollars. This, then, is the moment of greatest public opposition to the war and its continuing cost.

Opinion is settling in on the economy and it is not good for the president. Over 60 percent say the economy is not good for the middle class and reject the idea that the economy is doing well. Standing for a repeal of the president’s tax cuts for top earners would actually boost Democrats’ public support.

Social Security is a disaster for the president. Just 34 percent of voters support his reforms, even when they are described in the most general terms. Support continues to decline, offering no sign that his press conference or further details of his plans have helped. Bush’s plan is opposed by almost 60 percent of the country.

The result is that Republicans are now losing a generic vote for Congress by 5 points (48 to 43 percent.) President Bush’s personal favorability rating is falling to new lows and his job approval has flattened just below 50 percent. The potential for further slippage is very real as independent and moderate opinion moves away in droves from Republicans’ governance and their out-of-step priorities.

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**NOTE: Media representatives interested in more information about next week’s Campaign for America’s Future “Take Back America” conference or a copy of slides from today’s presentation at the National Press Club should visit**