Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Drum Major Institute - A nationwide poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group for DMI, found middle-class households worried about the present, pessimistic about the future, but not nearly so divided on issues of public policy as the typical media reports of country divided by red and blue might lead us to believe. In fact, there’s broad bipartisan support for a range of progressive policies.

77% of middle-class households think things are off on the wrong track in America now. With stagnant wages and unemployment on the upswing, jobs and the economy were the top concern. High gas prices ranked #2 overall.

Middle-class voters are split on the presidential race (about half leaning toward McCain and half to Obama) but there’s a lot of agreement around public policy with strong support for progressive measures. 75% of middle-class respondents - including 57% of Republicans - think a universal national health insurance plan is an excellent or good idea. 71% want to see a law requiring employers to provide paid family and medical leave. 78% wish their representative in Congress had voted to health coverage for uninsured low-and middle-income kids. 68% say their rep should have voted to make it easier for people to organize labor unions.

62% would allow bankruptcy judges to change mortgage payments to avoid foreclosures.

If these policies are so popular, why isn’t the nation moving in a more progressive direction? One problem is that most middle-class Americans don’t know how their members of Congress actually voted on the issues in question. While two-thirds of middle-class adults say they try to follow what Congress is doing at least somewhat closely, most get very few communications from their representatives. 72% cannot name a single piece of legislation passed by Congress in the past two years that has benefited them or their families. In part, this reflects a grim assessment of Congress’ efficacy. But it also says something about the lack of connection between the nation’s legislators and their middle-class constituents. 68% of middle-class adults would like their rep to support taxing hedge fund managers at the same rate as others in their income bracket. But 69% don’t know if that’s how their rep actually cast the vote. It’s hard to hold your representative accountable if you don’t know what they’re up to.



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