PITTSBURGH, PA. – Progressive bloggers and activists are focused on pushing comprehensive health care reform this year and overwhelmingly support Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., over Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., for the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nomination, according to a straw poll at this year’s Netroots Nation convention conducted by the Campaign for America’s Future and Democracy Corps.
Sixty percent of respondents said overhauling the nation’s health care system is one of their top two priorities. Fifty-three percent said they will not support a health care bill that does not include a public insurance option. Passing clean energy and environmental protection measures came in second with 22 percent.
President Clinton, former Gov. Howard Dean and White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett all spoke this week at this year’s convention, which attracted more than 1,500 progressive bloggers and activists. Sen. Specter and Rep. Sestak both addressed the convention on Friday. Sen. Specter, who did not support a public health insurance option before, told the audience he supports it now.
In a match-up between the two candidates vying for the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nomination, neither candidate reached 50 percent. A third remained undecided while 48 percent choose Rep. Sestak and 10 percent choose Sen. Specter. Rep Sestak was viewed more positively with a favorability rating of 46 compared to 15 for Sen. Specter.
President Obama received a 95 percent approval rating among the group. Not surprisingly, Sarah Palin was extremely unpopular with participants. Only 1 percent of attendees rated Palin favorably while 88 percent rated her unfavorably. Thirty-six percent rated Palin as the easiest Republican presidential nominee to defeat in 2012, followed by former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., who was rated as easiest to beat by 20 percent, and Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., who was the choice of 12 percent.
This year’s convention marked the second year that Campaign for America’s Future and Democracy Corps conducted a straw poll at the Netroots Nation bloggers convention. More than 250 attendees participated in this year’s straw poll between Thursday, Aug. 13 and Friday, Aug. 14.