Liberal Ideas Are Not As Popular As You Think

A new PBS/Marist poll is out, and it shows that Americans are generally in love with liberal ideas. Hooray!

But don’t get too excited yet. Americans say they like lots of things when they’re asked out of the blue, but in the real world the other side gets to weigh in before opinions become solidified. Because of this, there’s a rule of thumb that a political proposition doesn’t truly have majority support until it polls at about two-thirds or better. This is a pretty good rule of thumb, and with that in mind here are the results of the poll:

Background checks for gun owners is a no-brainer. An optional version of Medicare for All is a strong contender, and government control of prescription drug prices is a close call, but probably pretty popular.

And that’s it. There are a few more ideas on the list that might be good campaign fodder depending on how they’re presented, but they aren’t likely to be hugely popular selling points. As for the rest, just forget it. Any candidate who truly believes in them should feel free to say so, but no one should fool themselves into thinking that big majorities support them.

At the bottom of the list, by the way, are five items that poll at levels less than about one-third. In real life, the number of people who really, seriously support them is probably on the order of 10-15 percent. They are total losers, period.

BY THE WAY: These are all liberal ideas. Why didn’t Marist poll any conservative ideas?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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