Sunday, June 15, 2008

'America: A Progressive Nation, Not a Conservative One'

Post is here.

I've written a couple of times already about the latest polling from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal (.pdf), but I wanted to mention one more set of data found in the survey, one that I think is more fundamental than any other. The pollsters who conducted the poll, one Democratic and one Republican, asked respondents the following question:

In thinking about the next president that we'll be electing, which of the following two statements comes closer to your point of view? (IF "BOTH," ASK:) I understand that you feel that they are both important, but if you had to choose the ONE statement that comes closer to your point of view, which would you choose?

Statement A: This is a time to have a president who will focus on progress and help move America forward.
Statement B: This is a time to have a president who will focus on protecting what has made America great.

In short, without using the exact keywords, NBC and The Journal asked respondents if they were fundamentally progressive (looking forward to create an America better than ever before) or fundamentally conservative (looking back to restore a great America that once was).

Back in November 2007, when the question was first asked to registered voters, the split was nearly even, with 50 percent implicitly identifying as progressive and 46 percent as conservative. By this past March, however, the spread became much wider, with progressives outnumbering conservatives 57 percent to 39 percent. That wide progressive advantage among American voters has held to today, with 59 percent choosing the progressive option and just 37 percent choosing the conservative one. So according to these numbers, America is a progressive nation, not a conservative one -- or, at the least, has the potential to be as such.

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