In 2007 Media Matters for America and Campaign for America’s Future did a survey of several decades of public opinion polling and showed that — on an array of key issues — Americans in general (as distinct from the corporate media) are predominantly liberal/progressive in their thinking.
It would be interesting to see an update to this polling now, in the midst of this Great Recession. I’m guessing that some results in the economic sphere might change somewhat, but since the original study spanned decades (good times and bad) we’re looking at enduring and persistent values.
The results clearly show that much of the corporate media, particularly right-wing partisan organizations like Fox News, serve as myth-making forces in our society, in this case the myth of conservative America.
So, where now — in light of this study — is the “middle of the road?” Those who proudly claim that position usually point to the shape of the bell curve. Following that reasoning, I claim that the main mass of the bell curve is liberal/progressive.
Here are the key findings of the study. See if you can locate yourself.
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.
See the complete study here.