USAction's “Swing Nation” Conference Call
Timothy Horrigan, June 29, 2006
A group called “Americans United for Change” (aka USAction) invited me to join a conference call for “Bloggers and Liberal Columnists Only” on June 29, 2006. I think they got my name from David Brock's Media Matters. In advance they emailed me some items, and I think it is OK to put this item on my web site:
Back in late May 2006, Anna Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research led a poll of 613 “swing voters.” The adjective “swing” does not refer to the voters' tastes in music or even their sexual proclivities, These are voters who are either Independents or who belong to one of the two major parties but don't support their party's Senate and/or House candidates. The geography of the poll was limited to 66 swing Congressional Districts as well 8 swing states whose Senate seats are deemed by the experts to be “in play.” Both of the Congressional Districts in my home state of New Hampshire are in play. I would have been screened out if they called me: I am a very partisan Democrat.
The results indicate that George W. Bush and the Republicans in general are in deep trouble. (However, I should temper this assertion by saying that Bush & Co. are also very good at creating diversionary issues. The afternoon of the conference call, for example, they took a vote on a resolution attacking the New York Times for publishing stories about Bush's illegal wiretapping and financial-espionage programs. The only purpose of this vote was to force Democrat incumbents to vote in favor of the Terrorists. Earlier this summer, flag-burning and gay-marriage Constitutional Amendments were rushed to the floor of the Senate, for similar reasons. Neither amendment passed. But many Senators will be the subject of attack ads asking why they are opposed to the traditional nuclear family and the American flag.)
The poll was done by a Democratic Party-based polling company for a liberal advocacy group, which favors a progressive agenda (such as investing more in health acre education.) They did, however, try to test a number of the more obvious counterarguments to the progressive agenda, e.g., that we can't afford it and that we can't trust the government. Even with the counterarguments, it turned out that the swing voters still favored a progressive agenda. In fact the numbers were higher when the counteraguments were made: 72%-27% in favor when “accountability language” was added on, 67%-27% when it wasn't. (The score for the whole sample of voters was 69%-24%.)
Some other key findings:
Swing voters are very angry with the way things are going. 73% feel the country is on the wrong track. 66% disapprove of President Bush's job performance. Only 39% feel the economy is in good shape.
Most of the voters describe themselves as Moderate or Conservative. The percentages were 19% Liberal, 50% Moderate, 31% Conservative. (The meaning of the label Moderate is, I would have to say, rather uncertain in a political environment where anyone to the left of Arlen Specter is an “ultraliberal” and anyone to the left of Joe Lieberman is labelled a “socialist.”)
73% think the government always puts the needs of the wealthy and corporate special interests ahead of those of working families. (Of course, there may still be a few Bushites who think putting the wealthy first is a good thing.)
Democrats are preferred to Republicans 45%-28% in House races; 53%-31% in the Senate races. (There are a lot of undecided voters left.)
There is wide support for rolling back the recent tax cuts on the wealthy: 64% would have serious doubts about a candidate who favored the tax cuts.
For more info see:
Americans United for Change is a nominally nonpartisan group, which does however favor a progressive pro-labor agenda which is anathema to the Bush Republicans. It is an offspring of Americans United to Protect Social Security, which stopped Bush's proposed privatization of Social Security (a cause he brought up again this summer, although there is little chance of getting Congress to do anything about it before the November elections.) I have to confess that I agreed to join the conference call without seeing who they were (although I did know who the pollster was.) The driving forces behind the group are Senators Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer and Speaker of the House (oops! I am getting ahead of myself by a few months), I mean, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The biggest source of funding is organized labor, especially AFSCME.
The Forgotten Liars by Timothy Horrigan