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Parsing the (Tracking) Poll: Are We A Center-Right Country?

The latest Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll -- using interviews conducted Thursday through Sunday -- shows Barack Obama leading John McCain 52 percent to 45 percent.

Almost every other internal measure in the survey also provides good news for Obama; the economy remains the dominant issue in the campaign and the Illinois senator holds a double-digit edge over McCain when voters were asked which of the two men they trusted more to handle it.

And yet, buried deep within the poll was evidence that if Obama is elected to the White House and Democrats strengthen their congressional majorities, they run some peril of pushing a too-liberal agenda and alienating the broad middle of the country -- many of whom still consider themselves moderates and conservatives.

In the Post survey, just 22 percent of the likely voter sample called themselves "liberals" while 38 percent self-identified as "moderates" and 37 percent as "conservatives."

Those numbers are essentially unchanged since the Post/ABC started nightly tracking in this race last weekend and are remarkably consistent over the last few years that the Post has asked the question.

On the cusp of the 2006 midterm elections, for example, when Democrats won back control of the House and Senate, an early November Post/ABC poll showed just 19 percent of the sample of registered voters described themselves as "liberals" while 42 percent called themselves "moderates" and another 36 percent cast themselves as "conservatives."

Those numbers got us to thinking about a wonderful piece by Newsweek's editor-in-chief (and Fix friend) Jon Meacham in which he argued that America remains a center-right country ideologically, and that a President Obama will have to cope with that reality if he wants to accomplish his legislative goals and get himself reelected.

Writes Meacham:

"Should Obama win, he will have to govern a nation that is more instinctively conservative than it is liberal--a perennial reality that past Democratic presidents have ignored at their peril. A party founded by Andrew Jackson on the principle that 'the majority is to govern' has long found itself flummoxed by the failure of that majority to see the virtues of the Democrats and the vices of the Republicans."

A separate but related point: If Obama does win next Tuesday, there will be significant excitement and expectation within the Democratic base that a progressive agenda -- universal health care, removing the troops from Iraq -- will quickly be passed into law.

If that happens, expect Republicans to use such an agenda as fodder in 2010 for the need to have divided government in Washington.

If it doesn't happen, the real possibility exists that the base of the party -- or at least portions of it -- will abandon Obama as something less than the real thing.

Governing and campaigning are not the same thing. And, in a country that -- if the Post/ABC survey is to be believed -- still tilts center-right, Obama must be careful not to drift too far to the left in the heady early days of his administration.

Our guess? That's a problem the Obama campaign would welcome.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 28, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , Parsing the Polls  
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Next: Should Republicans Cut Bait?

Comments

Wow, Sheppard Smith goes after Joe the Plumber for the insane statements he made at an RNC event today about Obama. Will John McCain still be using Joe the Plumber in all his new ads since he's saying Obama will destroy Israel?

First Palin and now Joe the Plumber. Talk about judgment.

Posted by: sherardg | October 29, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

If America was really center-Left as so many commenters here suggest, then terms like Socialism and "redistribution" would not be used as pejoratives. Those are run of the mill center-Left terms in most of the industrialized West, certainly in Europe and Canada.

Americans may favor some redistribution in practice, but only if it is "hidden" in things like progressive taxation and "safety net" programs like Social Security. To their credit, Liberals in America have done a great job coming up with more and more clever programs to do this, the latest being Obama's "tax cuts" (a chunk of which are checks sent out directly to people who did not pay taxes - which used to be called Welfare).

So, we may practice some center-left policies, but we don't preach them. In fact we hate them and vote against them if/when they presented openly for what they are. That distinction matters hugely.

Posted by: vimrich | October 29, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Chris you know better than this, so why do you think your audience (many of whom are far more accomplished than anyone who would ever be an "ink-stained wretch") are complete idiots? Self-labeling in polling serves no purpose. When these same self-labellers are offered positions upon which to opine they always end up negating whichever label they gave themselves. In addition, when picking their sides on positions, Americans repeatedly go for center-left to far-left policies. Why do you mislead your readers?

Posted by: LeRiverend | October 29, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The real issue here is that the Republican Party has moved so far right that we are now a center left country. McCain would have been a radical right winger in 1976. The average Democrat is no longer a liberal but centrist. You cannot be anything close to moderate and be associcated with the Republican party.

Posted by: bradcpa | October 29, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2001, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 33.4% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 51%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 84%, leaving only 16% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth, the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 39.7%. Table 1 and Figure 1 present further details drawn from the careful work of economist Edward N. Wolff at New York University (2004).

Obama's tax plan is to return to the progressive form of the Clinton administration which would target to the largest degree the 1 per cent at the top
with one third of the wealth in the country.

Small business owners making over 250 thousand in profit would see the smallest increase.
No more than they paid in the Clinton era which was without a doubt the most prosperous in recent history.

The benefits of this system would take the burden off the middle class which has only
16 per cent of the wealth in this country. The wage earners and salaried employees like Joe the plumber would get instant relief.

This will encourage them to spend more and stimulate the economy.


Posted by: seemstome | October 29, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

John McCain has been acting erratically ever since he selected Palin for his running mate. When the economy failed his behavior became bizarre. Stresses on any president in the next few years are going to be extreme . They will be fatal for someone in McCain's health and mental state. When he steps down we will then inherit his Palin fiasco.

Now Colin Powell has recognized these facts and has endorsed Obama as being a cool-headed and logical leader who is more fit for the presidency.

Kipling said it best:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!


He was talking about men like Obama.


Posted by: seemstome | October 29, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: hillary11 | October 29, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

You know, the idea that America is "center-right" is really garbage, frankly. More Americans may THINK of themselves as centrist or center-right, but the fact remains that on the major issues of the day, poll after poll show the majority of Americans agreeing with liberal stances on nearly every single one except the death penalty.

So, that idea is simply a self-serving lie. Americans, by and large, are center LEFT.

Posted by: hillary11 | October 29, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

To the scared haters: learn something of Barack's former church and his religion. Watch this C-SPAN Book TV author talk. This was recorded in Nashville the first night of the Dem convention in August. The whole thing is under 45 minutes.

==> http://tinyurl.com/4oabyv

==> The Faith of Barack Obama
==> Author: Stephen Mansfield

==> Stephen Mansfield talks about Barack Obama's religious views and the rising influence of the religious left in America. Mr. Mansfield spoke at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Nashville, Tennessee.

==> Stephen Mansfield is the author of "The Faith of George W. Bush," "The Faith of the American Soldier," and other books. He is the founder of The Mansfield Group, a research and communications firm.

This fellow is a white conservative Evangelical pastor and said he's not going to vote for him, so he's not "in the tank" for Barack, and he's a reliable source of information.

He went to Trinity for a bunch of services over Easter weekend, was welcomed with great warmth, understands why Barack would have felt at home there, and he does a great job deconstrusting the whole "raised as a Muslim" myth, too. It's a highly detailed and well-researched book.

Or you could just continue hating in willful ignorance.

Posted by: handal1 | October 29, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

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If there was a white Presidential candidate who was found to be a member of a racist church, same as the Rev. Wright's church except substitute "white values" for "black values" and visa vera, THE MEDIA WOULD BE IN TOTAL ATTACK MODE AGAINST THAT WHITE CANDIDATE.


OBAMA IS A RACIST - OBAMA HAS GIVE $20,000.00 TO A RACIST CHURCH IN ONE YEAR.


WAKE UP WASHINGTON POST WAKE UP MEDIA.


WAKE UP AMERICA.


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Exactly right he's racist. Just listen to Irreverend Wrong, his pastor for many, many years.


Exactly right he's socialist. Just listen to him admit it to Joe the Plumber, or his interviews in the past.


Exactly right he's a rotten human being. Just look at his abortion voting record.


Exactly right he has questionable judgment. Just look at his associations with people in his past.


Exactly right he's corrupt. Just look at the Rezko land deal.


Exactly right he's a liar. Just look at what he says about taxes vs. how he's actually voted.


Exactly right he has no executive experience. Just look at his resume -- or lack thereof.


Exactly right he's secretive. Just look at his lack of birth certificate, SAT scores, grades, etc. etc., etc.


Exactly right he'll be challenged in his first 6 months of office if elected. Just look at what he says about meeting unconditionally with world leaders.


We cannot be SERIOUS about electing this guy!! Obama in charge of nukes?! What. The.


Sorry George Washington, we messed everything up.


We stopped demanding the best people in the White House.


.


.

Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 29, 2008 5:36 AM | Report abuse

Many Republicans seem to have contempt for democracy and the democratic process. They think Republican rule is an entitlement, not something to be won in democratic, fair elections.

Clearly no one can contend Bush democratically won the election nearly eight years ago. Republicans in Ohio four years ago provided ample voting sites in safely Republican areas, while there were insufficient voting places in some cities and college campuses, leading to some people waiting several hours to vote. Coincidence or intent to suppress votes?

News reports today indicate some Republicans sending out flyers to students on a campus in Virginia, attempting to suppress voter turnout, by falsely stating students who vote locally will lose their scholarships. Typical GOP dirty tactics intended to steal the election.

Many Republicans feel resentful when Democrats win and seek flimsy or trumped up charges to remove leading Democrats from power. Examples include the unsuccessful GOP drive to remove Bill Clinton from office and the successful Republican efforts to recall Gray Davis in California.

McCain-Palin campaign tactics have taken the very low road to try to win, with McCarthyism, lies, name-calling and distortions. They think enough Americans are sufficiently poorly educated and/or ill-informed to believe their absurd propaganda about Barack being a socialist or seeking to redistribute the wealth.

The only leading politicians who have advocated socialism to any degree since the 1970's has been Bush and his cohorts, who have partially nationalized the banking industry. Does McCain's support of these quasi-socialist policies mean he is a socialist?

McCain, if he truly denies he will be distributionist in chief, must want to abolish Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, most federal programs and many tax deductions, such as for mortgage interest because all of these involve taking money from some people, to give it to other people.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | October 29, 2008 3:07 AM | Report abuse

Obama's admission that he's for redistribution of wealth has lead in these past few days instead to a redistribution of votes...down to 2% lead in Gallup traditional, 4% IBD, 5% Rasmusson and Zogby, and falling.

Posted by: thecannula | October 28, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

.


.


If there was a white Presidential candidate who was found to be a member of a racist church, same as the Rev. Wright's church except substitute "white values" for "black values" and visa vera, THE MEDIA WOULD BE IN TOTAL ATTACK MODE AGAINST THAT WHITE CANDIDATE.


OBAMA IS A RACIST - OBAMA HAS GIVE $20,000.00 TO A RACIST CHURCH IN ONE YEAR.


WAKE UP WASHINGTON POST WAKE UP MEDIA.


WAKE UP AMERICA.


.


.


Exactly right he's racist. Just listen to Irreverend Wrong, his pastor for many, many years.


Exactly right he's socialist. Just listen to him admit it to Joe the Plumber, or his interviews in the past.


Exactly right he's a rotten human being. Just look at his abortion voting record.


Exactly right he has questionable judgment. Just look at his associations with people in his past.


Exactly right he's corrupt. Just look at the Rezko land deal.


Exactly right he's a liar. Just look at what he says about taxes vs. how he's actually voted.


Exactly right he has no executive experience. Just look at his resume -- or lack thereof.


Exactly right he's secretive. Just look at his lack of birth certificate, SAT scores, grades, etc. etc., etc.


Exactly right he'll be challenged in his first 6 months of office if elected. Just look at what he says about meeting unconditionally with world leaders.


We cannot be SERIOUS about electing this guy!! Obama in charge of nukes?! What. The.


Sorry George Washington, we messed everything up.


We stopped demanding the best people in the White House.


.


.

Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 28, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse


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Voted One Of America's Top 5 Political Blogs for the Election of 2008


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BOOKMARK IT NOW !!!!



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Voted One Of America's Top 5 Political Blogs for the Election of 2008

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BOOKMARK IT NOW !!!!



http://www.myspace.com/37thandostreet

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Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 28, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Since the Republicans success in redefining "liberal", I have identified myself as a moderate and a financial conservative. I've done this to convey more clearly differences between myself and the radical left wing of the party. I am still the same guy who cast his first vote for Adlai Stevenson and will cast his next for Barrack Obama, still a liberal at heart.

I think there are many others like me out there, confusing the effort to fit the nation in to any easy category.

Posted by: burtwood | October 28, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you Idncarl. To ask this question straight forward is inviting liberals to take on all the bogus baggage thats been placed on being a liberal, so of course some are either going to refuse to answer or take the safe route and say they're moderate when in reality they may support liberal candidates and agree with their liberal policies. Its like the Bradley effect for ideologies except more plausible

Posted by: dgoodin | October 28, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008

Posted by: hclark1 | October 28, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

That people self-identified themselves as "liberal", "moderate", or "conservative" means next to nothing. People do not understand the meaning of these terms, only that these political philosophies have tended to associate themselves with certain causes such as gun control, abortion; and they've done so only to gain power. The neo-conservatives are anything but conservative on many issues, are have recently adopted a socialist economic philosophy with major financial giveaways (of funds we don't have) through the stimulus package and bailout package (both Bush administration). And, as many people have pointed out, the term "liberal" still has a negative connotation, because people such as Gingrich, Rove, Limbaugh managed to present it that way.

Posted by: ptgrunner | October 28, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I understand the need for polls in order to keep the public informed of the status of the election process, but on the same token I think the publication of polls works to influence the decisions of American voters external to their true opinions on party platforms, policy, etc. I think that as the election draws ever closer, the tendency to jump on a band wagon increases in the interest of not "throwing" one's vote away. I still contend that it's more important to vote for who you truly believe in, and as such I tend to avoid polls in every way I can. I'd prefer to make my own decisions. And I'm not the only one; check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOk9B1hYr4g

At least we don't all fall under the same spell, I guess.

Posted by: emberross | October 28, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

There's no way of telling which way all the moderates lean. And all moderates lean one way or the other. This farce that we are a center-right country isn't grounded in anything, least of all this survey.

Posted by: LukeofNazareth | October 28, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes, thanks to years of the vilification of the word "liberal" by the right-wing media, many Americans are reluctant to label themselves as such. That does NOT mean we live in a "center-right" country. Ask people how they feel about real policy: healthcare, social security, abortion rights, etc. It won't look very much like a center-right country any more.

Posted by: jps78 | October 28, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"So on abortion: Frame it is an issue of preventing unwanted pregnancies before the actual conception occurs coupled with keeping government bureaucrats out of your home."

This is what Obama is essentially trying to do. Dems and Repubs don't agree on abortion, but they do agree that it is good to keep unwanted pregnancies down. The problem is that Republicans, like with every issue, are less interested in solving the problem than in playing to the base. That's why we have these stupid abstinence only programs.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 28, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I see that someone else has already said this, but I wanted to second it: Asking people whether they self-identify as liberal, conservative, or moderate is the wrong question, given the way the term "liberal" has been attacked by certain strains of conservatism for the past several decades.

Pollsters need to try asking whether people define themselves as conservative, moderate, or *progressive*--then, I think, there'd be more of a basis for claims like the ones made in this column.

Posted by: dfbdfb | October 28, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"DDAWD:

I understand your point regarding socially wanting to be part of a larger group and using the term Conservative as sort of code-word for "one of the club." That is not, however, in my mind why the Republicans have been abject failures in running this country. Rather, I believe it is because you have a party whose core is largely based on 30 or so years of the mantra "government is the problem, not the solution." When one consistently expresses disdain for something, how can one reasonably expected to take good care of it?

Said differently, if you want government to work for the good of the whole, elect those who have that end as part of their belief base -- the Democratic Party (core belief -- collective action, collective responsibility). If you want government to disappear, get out of the way, or work only as a means to an individual's gain for those "in the club", then elect those who have that as an end -- the Republican Party (core belief -- individual action, individual responsibility). "


Well, they are both a part of it. Crest toothpaste uses the four out of five thing, but they also talk about plaque fighting. Like they make it a club, but also sell the benefits of being in the club. Same thing with the Republican party. They sell it as the "government is bad" party, but also the popular club.

But the main problem with the "government is bad" mantra is that it is too overly simplified. It's easy to ridicule bear genetics or whatever, but that is just anecdotal. Conservatives love to make the exception for limiting spending when it comes to the military. I don't know if this is an actual core belief or if it is just pandering to pro-military.

And while I believe that we do need protection from external elements, there are also internal elements that are troublesome. Most people aren't going to die from a terrorist attack. They are going to die from some medical condition. Why is it the job of the government to protect us from the Queen of England, but not to protect us from kidney failure?

And what about other things? I'd gladly pay a few dollars more in taxes to improve the roads where I live. It would save me money in the long run from wear on my car. I can't pave my own roads. I met Amy Klobuchar yesterday (the Senator from Minnesota) and she commented on how ridiculous that an eight lane bridge just collapses in this country. And she is right.

People don't need the government to wipe their noses, but if the reason they have runny noses is from a deadly outbreak of influenza, then, yeah. How about a little help?

Posted by: DDAWD | October 28, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Tradition! tradition....tradition

National Gallup (Traditional)* Obama 49, McCain 47 Obama +2

Those numbers are a sight for sore eyes-

Americans want jobs and a good economy, in the tradition of the best that America has been-

America does not want socialism....from each according to his ability... because we value hard work and the chance of getting ahead by studying (like Obama did), working with our hands, writing the next hit, or the "Great American Novel", or simply working our way up day by day as a teacher, policeman, architect, etc taking joy in the help we've brought to others and the security we've brought to our families.
THAT's American tradition- not the Redistributive Society Obama could bring in 2 months. What does America want? A check or a job?
Gallup's showing us that more and more want jobs!

OBAMA’S MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT - $1200

McCAIN’S MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT - $300 + LOWER CORPORATE TAXES FOR BUSINESES CREATING MIDDLE CLASS JOBS

LET’S SEE- $1200 CHECK VS $300 CHECK+JOB

That's NO dilemma!

Posted by: thecannula | October 28, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

In the last couple election cycles the Democrats have been aggressively courting conservative Democrats and have a senate seat from Montana, among other accomplishments, to show for it. While the royalty like treatment of these conservative Democrats will stop, that does not mean it should be replaced with second class citizenship. In 1992 the Democrats abandoned Bill Clinton when he tried to be a moderate. So Clinton got his legislative majorities from Republicans and the Democrats lost control of Congress two years later. If the Democrats have forgotten this, then they deserve to be spanked in 2010. If the Democrats remember this, then they need to start educating the activist liberal wing.

One of the core problem with dyed in the wool liberals is that they honestly believe people only need to experience their ideas to become true believers. It is really the same thing evangelicals believe. They are both wrong, but if the Democrats want any sort of lasting majority they best convince everyone in the party of it.

So on abortion: Frame it is an issue of preventing unwanted pregnancies before the actual conception occurs coupled with keeping government bureaucrats out of your home.

So on health care: Frame it as saving money for the US economy while improving worker productivity. Make it better for business.

So on the environment: Frame it as protecting God's creation and as increasing opportunities for sportsman.

So on gun control: leave it alone.

So on domestic welfare policies: use tax policy and have Obama keep giving speech after speech about how it is the lack of family and community that is responsible for societal breakdowns.

So on foreign policy: Sorry, there is no real hope here. The one thing Democrats could do however, is expand the Bush policies in Africa and other poor countries. I understand that liberals, while professing multiculturalism, back policies that do nothing but create unmeasurable levels of misery. They have to understand this. A huge portion of the Republican base would warm up a little bit to the Democrats if they did the work of Jesus by improving the life of the world's poor. NOTE: this means real programs with real success, not the forty plus years of Democratic programs that have increased the problems.

Basically, the Democrats need to be firm with their base, firm with the right and steer a forceful path down the middle. Do that and you won't go far wrong.

Posted by: caribis | October 28, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

If Obama is elected Americans will do what they did in 1994 - Zero in on Congress and make needed change there. We have always been a country that naturally leans towards political balance and cycles through more liberal and conservative times. I only worry when laws like the media fairness doctrine are even considered for a vote! Every reporter and news agency on earth should think twice about supporting such a thing!

Posted by: star_key2 | October 28, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The last week of october 2004 had Kerry up by 2% over Bush, but he lost by 4% (polls?). Obama is not Bill Clinton by no means. Clinton had much broader appeal and knew when to quit. He tried (a leftward move early) the big government health plan and it was defeated. He did not keep persuing it. Dems lost congress 2 years later - the people's answer to big government takeovers.

Posted by: star_key2 | October 28, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Parsing the (Tracking) Poll: Are We A Center-Right Country?

Bottom line, we need to be a true country and skip the ballistics. Deal with reality and elect Obama to restore our country's grand stand once again in the world as the true great nation that it was before the last past eight years, and of course with the help of those whom support him, including myself, because together "YES WE CAN" and from me to all of you together "YES WE WILL". (((Lol))) God Bless America!

Posted by: Nisey01 | October 28, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

It is clear that the Obama does not respect the US Constitution and its Freedoms as most Americans do.


Obama has a hostility toward those freedoms which he lumps in with a document which allowed the slave trade to continue, allowed the Dred Scott decision and allowed the Jim Crow era to be affirmed by the Supreme Court.

One has to view Obama and listen to what he has said. There were many references in his Philadelphia speech on race - OBAMA CLAIMED THE CONSTITUTION HAD A STAIN ON IT. I AM SICK OF OBAMA.

Obama's campaign has carried on a campaign of harassment against bloggers whose views Obama does not agree with.


Let me put it clearly: Obama's campaign has spent THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS PERHAPS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO HARASS PEOPLE WHO ARE EXERCISING FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN IS SICK.

Obama does not support Constitutional Freedoms the way you and I do. Obama sees these Freedoms through a darkened prism of slavery and the Jim Crow Era.

Vote for him at your own peril.


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Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 28, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Parsing the (Tracking) Poll: Are We A Center-Right Country?

Bottom line, we need to be a true country and skip the ballistics. Deal with reality and elect Obama to restore our country's grand stand once again in the world as the true great nation that it was before the last past eight years, and of course with the help of those whom support him, including myself, because together "YES WE CAN" and from me to all of you together "YES WE WILL". (((Lol))) God Bless America!

Posted by: Nisey01 | October 28, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

If you want proof that we are a center right country just look at how fast Obama tacked back to the center as soon as he got the nomination. You never here him talk about all the left wing garbage he ran on during the primaries when he was trying to get left of Hillary. He's still one of the most radically left wing politician to ever run for president and that will become apparent quickly to a lot of peoples sorrow if he's elected president.

On another subject: Chris, When are you going to write about Kahlid Al-Mansour the PLO operative and Obama's friend. I suspect never since that might damage Obama and the media won't do anythign to damage Obama. They've put too much effort into his campaign. By the way anyone who supports Israel and is Jewish that votes for Obama must be insane.

Posted by: RobT1 | October 28, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

If you want proof that we are a center right country just look at how fast Obama tacked back to the center as soon as he got the nomination. You never here him talk about all the left wing garbage he ran on during the primaries when he was trying to get left of Hillary. He's still one of the most radically left wing politician to ever run for president and that will become apparent quickly to a lot of peoples sorrow if he's elected president.

On another subject: Chris, When are you going to write about Kahlid Al-Mansour the PLO operative and Obama's friend. I suspect never since that might damage Obama and the media won't do anythign to damage Obama. They've put too much effort into his campaign. By the way anyone who supports Israel and is Jewish that votes for Obama must be insane.

Posted by: RobT1 | October 28, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

One big reason Obama now stands on the brink of an historic presidency is that he has little patience with the old 'liberal vs. conservative' dichotomy that is bread and butter for those of you inside the Beltway.

Take a sound, growing economy. We've had a conservative regime in Washington that has encouraged unbridled greed in the private sector and spent our national treasure like drunken sailors, giving us the most daunting deficits and financial crisis in my lifetime. So tell me: how is it that this is a liberal vs. conservative issue?

Or health care. Strong, stable families and communities -- a conservative goal -- require an end to the current dysfunction that is made possible, every study has shown, only by a rational, national health care system. With it, Joe the Plumber might pursue his dream without risking his family's basic health. Joe Sixpack -- who these days likely has lower real wages and no employer-paid health benefits -- benefits most. People all over can make rational decisions that benefit their families and the economy.

So tell me how this is a 'liberal' issue? Yet you place it squarely in the leftist fringe, just like legalization of marijuana and, oh, freeing Huey Newton.

The world is changing in sweeping and subtle ways and, if you want a slam-bam conflict, try writing about Tom and Jerry. Now there's a donnybrook for you!

Posted by: BobT3 | October 28, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

If you want proof that we are a center right country just look at how fast Obama tacked back to the center as soon as he got the nomination. You never here him talk about all the left wing garbage he ran on during the primaries when he was trying to get left of Hillary. He's still one of the most radically left wing politician to ever run for president and that will become apparent quickly to a lot of peoples sorrow if he's elected president.

On another subject: Chris, When are you going to write about Kahlid Al-Mansour the PLO operative and Obama's friend. I suspect never since that might damage Obama and the media won't do anythign to damage Obama. They've put too much effort into his campaign. By the way anyone who supports Israel and is Jewish that votes for Obama must be insane.

Posted by: RobT1 | October 28, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

If you want proof that we are a center right country just look at how fast Obama tacked back to the center as soon as he got the nomination. You never here him talk about all the left wing garbage he ran on during the primaries when he was trying to get left of Hillary. He's still one of the most radically left wing politician to ever run for president and that will become apparent quickly to a lot of peoples sorrow if he's elected president.

On another subject: Chris, When are you going to write about Kahlid Al-Mansour the PLO operative and Obama's friend. I suspect never since that might damage Obama and the media won't do anythign to damage Obama. They've put too much effort into his campaign. By the way anyone who supports Israel and is Jewish that votes for Obama must be insane.

Posted by: RobT1 | October 28, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

If you want proof that we are a center right country just look at how fast Obama tacked back to the center as soon as he got the nomination. You never here him talk about all the left wing garbage he ran on during the primaries when he was trying to get left of Hillary. He's still one of the most radically left wing polotician to ever run for president and that will become apparent quickly to a lot of peoples sorrow if he's elected president.

Posted by: RobT1 | October 28, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I do not agree this country, especially being so politically polarized, is a "center-right" country. Bill Clinton and Al Gore won the national popular vote in three consecutive elections. They were clearly not center-right candidates.

As many people have observed, liberals have been denigrated by conservatives since the 1980's. Yet as Bob Herbert wrote in a column in "The New York Times," nearly all of the progressive legislation enacted in this country since the 1860's has been the result of the actions and ideas of liberals.

Liberal and moderate Republicans were responsible for the end of slavery and landmark 14th and 15th amendments. Had the majority of conservatives prevailed, the 13th amendment, ending slavery, would not have happened, certainly not in the 19th century. Liberal and moderate Democrats and Republicans enacted many state and federal laws, ending child labor, workmen's compensation and early conservation efforts, including the creation of national parks. Liberal and moderate Democrats enacted Social Security, the minimum wage, protection of workers to join unions, etc. during the New Deal.

Sadly since the 1970's, liberals have disappeared in the GOP and moderates are increasingly a very small minority. Liberals and moderates, primarily in the Democratic party, were responsible for the civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965, the creation of Medicare, Medicaid, increased aid to education, increases in the minimum wage.

I do not think most Americans who consider themselves in the center or right politically want to abolish Medicare, Medicaid, federal aid to education, the minimum wage, protective laws for consumers and the environment, etc.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | October 28, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I do not agree this country, especially being so politically polarized, is a "center-right" country. Bill Clinton and Al Gore won the national popular vote in three consecutive elections. They were clearly not center-right candidates.

As many people have observed, liberals have been denigrated by conservatives since the 1980's. Yet as Bob Herbert wrote in a column in "The New York Times," nearly all of the progressive legislation enacted in this country since the 1860's has been the result of the actions and ideas of liberals.

Liberal and moderate Republicans were responsible for the end of slavery and landmark 14th and 15th amendments. Had the majority of conservatives prevailed, the 13th amendment, ending slavery, would not have happened, certainly not in the 19th century. Liberal and moderate Democrats and Republicans enacted many state and federal laws, ending child labor, workmen's compensation and early conservation efforts, including the creation of national parks. Liberal and moderate Democrats enacted Social Security, the minimum wage, protection of workers to join unions, etc. during the New Deal.

Sadly since the 1970's, liberals have disappeared in the GOP and moderates are increasingly a very small minority. Liberals and moderates, primarily in the Democratic party, were responsible for the civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965, the creation of Medicare, Medicaid, increased aid to education, increases in the minimum wage.

I do not think most Americans who consider themselves in the center or right politically want to abolish Medicare, Medicaid, federal aid to education, the minimum wage, protective laws for consumers and the environment, etc.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | October 28, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Chris, don't you drink the Kool-Aid too! Those polls only reflect the fact that the word "liberal" has been demonized by the right-wing echo-chamber for 30 years; I suspect if you replaced "liberal" with "progressive" you'd get quite a different result.

I don't know Jon Meacham's politics, but his piece in Newsweek was flimsy and unsubstatiated conservative bark with no bite. If people want to make conclusions as to whether this country is "fundamentally center-right" or not, one only has to look at public polling on conservative and liberal policy proposals. You call out likely Obama agenda items such as universal health care and removing the troops from Iraq as "progressive" (i.e. liberal) with the suggestion that they might be offensive to the "center-right" majority of Americans. I suspect if you check public polling for their support on those policies, an overwhelming majority would fall "center-left."

Conservatives have dominated public policy for three decades, and look where they've brought us. Their era is justifiably coming to an end, and their only hope is to scare the coming progressive majority from acting in decisive, bold, and effective ways to turn this country around. If Americans can see that a progressive agenda can work for the benefit of the working-class majority, the Republicans' time in the wilderness will be a long and lonely one.

Posted by: benniecsmith | October 28, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

A look at Obama's fiscal policies and the effects that even the fear of them being enacted is already having on the US economy might be worth checking out.

http://taxcredits.notlong.com/

Mike

Posted by: redmike | October 28, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

A look at Obama's fiscal policies and the effects that even the fear of them being enacted is already having on the US economy might be worth checking out.

http://taxcredits.notlong.com/

Mike

Posted by: redmike | October 28, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

“McCain and Palin have latched on to a couple of slips of the tongue that suggest (but have nothing to give them credence) that Obama is a "social" or even (as a clueless TV reporter put it) a "Marxist." They know what scares folks. It isn't "fascist." It's "communist".

---------------------

Actually, they know very little because it is not working.

They only use it because they have no constructive ideas to offer of their own.

And in so doing, they've lost middle America.

Posted by: wpost4112 | October 28, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

What a stupid, overly simplistic, analysis. American's have been slice and diced, chopped up into basically single issue voting blocks. The average voter is so hysterical in support of the single precious issue that they will blindly commit suicide by voting for candidates that represent THAT issue but, at the same time, supports other issues that are dangerous to them and their family. So, you get the "anti-abortion" crowd voting for Republican's that outsource their jobs and actually represent corporations and Wall Street over their interests. The gun nuts, white supremacists and other assort racists, Fundamentalist, are pretty much the same delussional idiots. On the left you got people blindly supporting candidates that actually represent public employee unions. Their retirement accounts, unlike private sector 401K's, have a taxpayer guarranteed return of 8%. And, those very accounts, enormous pools of money, managed by some of the most aggressively evil fund managers on Wall Street underwrote and are largely responsible for the drive to outsource private sector jobs, the mortgage meltdown, and even the manipulation of commodity prices. In my state, and I'd bet in your state, too, pubic employees have gotten pay increases, are asking for even more right this minute, benefit increases like fully paid medical insurance for themselves and every member of their family, publicly paid-in-full retirement plans, and more. This is paid for by their representatives pushing tax increases on home owners (My property tax bill increased by 50% because the local government assessed my home as having a 50% increase in value! I makes no difference to them that it, and every other house in my neighborhood has a real decrease in it's value, for government, it's just an easy way to raise more taxes).

What I am saying, is, NO ONE REPRESENTS THE MIDDLE, ordinary people. The extremes, the greedy and grasping and corrupt are well represented and always have been. I hope (and trust!) that Obama will end this. One thing, for certain, our choices for Congress and local government certainly wont.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 28, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

“McCain and Palin have latched on to a couple of slips of the tongue that suggest (but have nothing to give them credence) that Obama is a "social" or even (as a clueless TV reporter put it) a "Marxist." They know what scares folks. It isn't "fascist." It's "communist".

What scares folks is explaining away words they hear firsthand with their own ears as slips of the tongue while never allowing the opposition “a slip of the tongue”.

Posted by: leapin | October 28, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Some of you may remember the graphical representation of political views that depended on two axes: libertarian-authoritarian, and liberal-conservative. This seems an opportune moment to reintroduce the self-test to a new group of "Fix" posters.

http://www.politicalcompass.org/

Enjoy yourselves.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 28, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

DDAWD:

I understand your point regarding socially wanting to be part of a larger group and using the term Conservative as sort of code-word for "one of the club." That is not, however, in my mind why the Republicans have been abject failures in running this country. Rather, I believe it is because you have a party whose core is largely based on 30 or so years of the mantra "government is the problem, not the solution." When one consistently expresses disdain for something, how can one reasonably expected to take good care of it?

Said differently, if you want government to work for the good of the whole, elect those who have that end as part of their belief base -- the Democratic Party (core belief -- collective action, collective responsibility). If you want government to disappear, get out of the way, or work only as a means to an individual's gain for those "in the club", then elect those who have that as an end -- the Republican Party (core belief -- individual action, individual responsibility).

So at the end of the day, it is rather unfair to elect someone who does not like government and then expect that person to be a good steward of it.

Posted by: dbeno1 | October 28, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

well, one thing is clear, the extreme Right continues to walk in the darkness:

http://hamptonroads.com/2008/10/phony-flier-says-virginians-vote-different-days

Posted by: wpost4112 | October 28, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

This whole "center Right" thing is a hangover from the Reagan Era. A successful Obama Administration will be as transforming as was that of FDR. Twenty years from now, people will be proud to have supported Obama...whether they actually did or not.

Posted by: soonerthought | October 28, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Before 2000 I would've said that the country is center-right. However starting in about '02 or '03 I realized we'd shifted towards center-wrong.

Based on the polling numbers that I read - is seems that many other American's share my view.

Posted by: DonJasper | October 28, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you Idncarl. To ask this question straight forward invites liberals to take on the bogus baggage thats been placed on being a liberal, leading people to refuse to respond or take the safe route and say they're moderate, when in reality they would vote for a liberal candidate and support their liberal policy- like the Bradley effect for ideologies except this ones more plausible

Posted by: dgoodin | October 28, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The whole center right thing is something started by right wingers to make it seem as if they represent the country as a whole. People don't think like that. Its more important to see where they stand on individual issues. I'd say the country is conservative on taxes, gun control, and crime, but liberal on Iraq, healthcare, and the environment. This is why you don't see that many liberals talk about being liberals. To them, its not about being in a club, but more about getting things done. Conservatives rely more on the brand name identity. When they say that the country is center right, it is akin to them saying that four out of five people use Crest Tartar control toothpaste. It's not about the issues. It's about brand name identity. That's why they are so successful politically, but such miserable failures in terms of policy.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 28, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"Clearly the only thing that keeps that from happening is the Republicans themselves. Amazing."

Yes, amazing, but when you consider that the left has MSM cover (very, very important) and they change their rhetoric to conservative when they run, because they would get nowhere revealing their true positions, then maybe not so amazing.

Posted by: leapin | October 28, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you Idncarl. To ask a liberal such a straight forward question is inviting them to take on the bogus baggage that has been placed on being liberal. So of course many will either decline to answer or take the safe route and say they're moderates when in reality a much larger percentage of those people probably vote for a liberal candidate and support their liberal policy. Like the Bradley effect for ideologies- except this one is probably more plausible

Posted by: dgoodin | October 28, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for multiple postings, it's WP server's fault.

Posted by: VMR1 | October 28, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for multiple postings, it's WP server's fault.

Posted by: VMR1 | October 28, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you Idncarl. To ask a liberal such a straight forward question is inviting them to take on the bogus baggage that has been placed on being liberal. So of course many will either decline to answer or take the safe route and say they're moderates when in reality a much larger percentage of those people probably vote for a liberal candidate and support their liberal policy. Like the Bradley effect for ideologies- except this one is probably more plausible

Posted by: dgoodin | October 28, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

37th St Alley whined:

However how do you account for the apparently millions who support the ultra-left high-tax socialist Black-Liberation-Thelogy Obama ???

------------------

Intelligence. Try it sometime.

Posted by: wpost4112 | October 28, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Definitely a middle-of-the-road country. It just seems to tilt to the right because it is wingnut jackals like Rush, Hannity, Barnes, Kristol scream the loudest.

It is like walking into a daycare and thinking the toddlers are in charge, because they are doing all the screaming and yapping.

Posted by: bondjedi | October 28, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I hate all these hypocrites, and you Americans are the worst ones on this earth. Obama is black, he is this, he is that. He is 50% white, but you all still classify him as black: so why isn´t he white. Remember this all you red necks out there. We ALL ORIGINATE FROM EAST AFRICA. Mankind all have blacks in our blood. American red necks as well. Just a reminder. GO OBAMA GO

Posted by: hanseman57yahoocom | October 28, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I hate all these hypocrites, and you Americans are the worst ones on this earth. Obama is black, he is this, he is that. He is 50% white, but you all still classify him as black: so why isn´t he white. Remember this all you red necks out there. We ALL ORIGINATE FROM EAST AFRICA. Mankind all have blacks in our blood. American red necks as well. Just a reminder. GO OBAMA GO

Posted by: hanseman57yahoocom | October 28, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

“Conservative” is “We do it, so it the right thing to do”, while Liberal is “It is the right thing to do, so we must do it”. Animals (non-human ones included) are fearful of change because all change entails risk, and their abilities to determine what really is “right” is limited largely to trial and error. It is safer to do what you did yesterday or to do what your parents did, because that was survived. But animals that never change, never find anything better; they remain trapped in an evolutionary dead end. So animals must blend a lot of conservatism (for safety) with a little bit of liberalism (for progress). And we humans inevitably inherit that “Center-right” disposition. We might hope that we humans are better equipped to evaluate which changes are 'right' using our powers of reason, but there is little evidence of that, particularly in the blogsphere. Conservatives defend the status quo by throwing labels (“liberal”, “socialist”, “Marxist”, “terrorist”), while change-agents get frustrated throwing 'reason' at them to no avail, and so the argument devolves to bilateral name-calling. Sadly, we have progressed so little from the animals.

Posted by: davepullin | October 28, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you Idncarl. To ask a liberal such a straight forward question is inviting them to take on the bogus baggage that has been placed on being liberal. So of course many will either decline to answer or take the safe route and say they're moderates when in reality a much larger percentage of those people probably vote for a liberal candidate and support their liberal policy. Like the Bradley effect for ideologies- except this one is probably more plausible

Posted by: dgoodin | October 28, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I hate all these hypocrites, and you Americans are the worst ones on this earth. Obama is black, he is this, he is that. He is 50% white, but you all still classify him as black: so why isn´t he white. Remember this all you red necks out there. We ALL ORIGINATE FROM EAST AFRICA. Mankind all have blacks in our blood. American red necks as well. Just a reminder. GO OBAMA GO

Posted by: hanseman57yahoocom | October 28, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Of course the country has a conservative lean. Anyone who has lived anywhere outside the United States for more than a month can tell you that. It constantly shocks me to hear about the "far left" and "socialists" and "liberals". I have met real socialists. I have met real "far left" people. I had an economics professor when I was studying in Spain who was an honest-to-God Socialist. It was absolutely eye-opening. You really just do not hear that sort of thing in the United States, regardless of what FoxNews says.

With the exception of residents of Berkeley (where I studied for 3 years) and maybe another 1-2% of this country, we have no true left wing, or at least not a left-wing that would be recognized as such internationally. The Democratic Party would be seen as center-right in most other countries -- akin to the Christian Democrats, etc.

All of this makes it yet that much more impressive that the current administration and the Republican Party could have messed this thing up SOOO badly. By natural bent, this country should have a permanent Republican majority, or whomever else is to the center-right. Clearly the only thing that keeps that from happening is the Republicans themselves. Amazing.

Posted by: dbeno1 | October 28, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Joe The Plumber asked Senator Obama a simple question. The Obama campaign did not like the question so they initiated an investigation into Joe. That sounds to me more like Communism rather then Socialism.

Is Obama going to be our next President or next Czar?

Posted by: velowl | October 28, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Of course the country has a conservative lean. Anyone who has lived anywhere outside the United States for more than a month can tell you that. It constantly shocks me to hear about the "far left" and "socialists" and "liberals". I have met real socialists. I have met real "far left" people. I had an economics professor when I was studying in Spain who was an honest-to-God Socialist. It was absolutely eye-opening. You really just do not hear that sort of thing in the United States, regardless of what FoxNews says.

With the exception of residents of Berkeley (where I studied for 3 years) and maybe another 1-2% of this country, we have no true left wing, or at least not a left-wing that would be recognized as such internationally. The Democratic Party would be seen as center-right in most other countries -- akin to the Christian Democrats, etc.

All of this makes it yet that much more impressive that the current administration and the Republican Party could have messed this thing up SOOO badly. By natural bent, this country should have a permanent Republican majority, or whomever else is to the center-right. Clearly the only thing that keeps that from happening is the Republicans themselves. Amazing.

Posted by: dbeno1 | October 28, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

.

.

.


.


Old Tape of Obama Revealing His Real Thinking:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iivL4c_3pck


.

.


.


Let's all review how this year, not decades ago. OBAMA REFUSED TO DISAVOW Rev. Wright and his BLACK LIBERATION THEOLOGY TEACHINGS.


What is worse is that Obama exposed his children to the HATE OF BLACK LIBERATION THEOLOGY FOR YEARS.


EXPOSED HIS CHILDREN TO THAT RACIST HATE UNTIL IT BECAME POLITICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR OBAMA TO CONTINUE TO BRING HIS CHILDREN TO THE RACIST CHURCH !


IF A WHITE candidate had a similar church, the Washignton Post would be railing against that candidate.


The bias is great, the racism is unbelievable. The media has given Obama so many passes.


Then they have to go and get some FALSE CHARGES FROM DECADES AGO.


Investigate Obama and his democratic friends in Chicago.


Investigate his friend REZKO who has been indicted and whose story much of America does not know.


Investigate all the connections between Michele Obama and Farrakhan.


BE SERIOUS MEDIA.


YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING DRINKING THE KOOL-AID OF THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN TALKING POINTS AS IF IT WERE TRUTH.


.


.

Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 28, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

We're not a "center-right" country. We're patently incapable of balance. We're not a nation but a patchwork of races and ethnicities, imported into this land, stolen from its native inhabitants by imperial european powers, for the purposes of making as much money for the new owners of this country as possible. We don't have a real face.

Today, we're a nation of imbeciles, which perfectly explains our conundrum, our inability to build a decent society. We have not developed organically, over many centuries of trial and error. We don't know what a decent society should look like. We're still having a national argument whether healthcare is a right or a privelege and still admire a woman who makes a conscious decision to give birth to a genetically deformed child.

Are you all freakin' insane?????!!!!

One major problem is that we don't admit error How could we? After all we're a "shiny city on the hill", a God-blessed nation. We're probably the only nation on Earth that believes in its own mythological B.S.

We rely for guidance on our bible, our constitution, which cannot possibly guide us out of our situation in the 21st. The best thing for us is total collapse, a some kind of geographical split along ideological lines and then slow rebuilding.

There's no other way. There're just too many people who disagree with each other, who don't know and don't wanna know each other, who are trying to rip each other off, and just way too many brain-damaged and heavily armed people.
We're at a developmental dead end.

That's why I will support McCAin/Palin presidency as the best way to ensure the fastest total collapse of the USA, a cleansing by fire to follow, and emergence of a rebuilt new county, or several of them. Better one(s), one hopes.

Posted by: VMR1 | October 28, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Before you conclude we are a center-right country politically, please find a different metric besides self-identity as a "liberal" or "conservative". The last 28 years has witnessed such a thorough trashing of the term "liberal", that I suspect any polling that tests the popularity of that particular word is likely to capture the essential values behind what it means to be liberal. Plus, I would imagine there are as many flavors of liberal as there are conservative. For that matter, there are many flavor of "center-right". So once again, aren't we descending in to a rather meaningless exercise by tossing labels around? Instead of a single question on a newspaper poll, I'd like to see some political science grad student run a more comprehensive study that polls based on support for policies and ideas, rather than labels.

Posted by: piedpiper11 | October 28, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

By one common definition, a moderate is a social liberal grafted to a fiscal conservative. I believe that that is basically the direction our country needs to go but the language needs to be restructured

It's time for the old liberal and conservative avatars to have their numbers retired and hung on a banner somewhere. The moldy ideologies of the Republican and Democratic parties are nothing but frail and diseased relics of the past.

What we truly need from our leaders is quality decisions that promote the economic and social health of our country with affordable public programs. We also crave authentic statesmanship to repair our pathetic global image.

I have already cast my vote and it wasn't for hysteria, confusion and mindless character assassination.

Posted by: robertchoward | October 28, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

From a European pespective, I would say that the U.S.A is a right wing country. However my view of right wing is the same as your view of centre right. I think the American scale is much more conservitive than that of ours in Europe.

Posted by: coldrav3n | October 28, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

We're not a "center-right" country. We're patently incapable of balance. We're not a nation but a patchwork of races and ethnicities, imported into this land, stolen from its native inhabitants by imperial european powers, for the purposes of making as much money for the new owners of this country as possible. We don't have a real face.

Today, we're a nation of imbeciles, which perfectly explains our conundrum, our inability to build a decent society. We have not developed organically, over many centuries of trial and error. We don't know what a decent society should look like. We're still having a national argument whether healthcare is a right or a privelege and still admire a woman who makes a conscious decision to give birth to a genetically deformed child.

Are you all freakin' insane?????!!!!

One major problem is that we don't admit error How could we? After all we're a "shiny city on the hill", a God-blessed nation. We're probably the only nation on Earth that believes in its own mythological B.S.

We rely for guidance on our bible, our constitution, which cannot possibly guide us out of our situation in the 21st. The best thing for us is total collapse, a some kind of geographical split along ideological lines and then slow rebuilding.

There's no other way. There're just too many people who disagree with each other, who don't know and don't wanna know each other, who are trying to rip each other off, and just way too many brain-damaged and heavily armed people.
We're at a developmental dead end.

That's why I will support McCAin/Palin presidency as the best way to ensure the fastest total collapse of the USA, a cleansing by fire to follow, and emergence of a rebuilt new county, or several of them. Better one(s), one hopes.

Posted by: VMR1 | October 28, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

We're not a "center-right" country. We're patently incapable of balance. We're not a nation but a patchwork of races and ethnicities, imported into this land, stolen from its native inhabitants by imperial european powers, for the purposes of making as much money for the new owners of this country as possible. We don't have a real face.

Today, we're a nation of imbeciles, which perfectly explains our conundrum, our inability to build a decent society. We have not developed organically, over many centuries of trial and error. We don't know what a decent society should look like. We're still having a national argument whether healthcare is a right or a privelege and still admire a woman who makes a conscious decision to give birth to a genetically deformed child.

Are you all freakin' insane?????!!!!

One major problem is that we don't admit error How could we? After all we're a "shiny city on the hill", a God-blessed nation. We're probably the only nation on Earth that believes in its own mythological B.S.

We rely for guidance on our bible, our constitution, which cannot possibly guide us out of our situation in the 21st. The best thing for us is total collapse, a some kind of geographical split along ideological lines and then slow rebuilding.

There's no other way. There're just too many people who disagree with each other, who don't know and don't wanna know each other, who are trying to rip each other off, and just way too many brain-damaged and heavily armed people.
We're at a developmental dead end.

That's why I will support McCAin/Palin presidency as the best way to ensure the fastest total collapse of the USA, a cleansing by fire to follow, and emergence of a rebuilt new county, or several of them. Better one(s), one hopes.

Posted by: VMR1 | October 28, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

We're not a "center-right" country. We're patently incapable of balance. We're not a nation but a patchwork of races and ethnicities, imported into this land, stolen from its native inhabitants by imperial european powers, for the purposes of making as much money for the new owners of this country as possible. We don't have a real face.

Today, we're a nation of imbeciles, which perfectly explains our conundrum, our inability to build a decent society. We have not developed organically, over many centuries of trial and error. We don't know what a decent society should look like. We're still having a national argument whether healthcare is a right or a privelege and still admire a woman who makes a conscious decision to give birth to a genetically deformed child.

Are you all freakin' insane?????!!!!

One major problem is that we don't admit error How could we? After all we're a "shiny city on the hill", a God-blessed nation. We're probably the only nation on Earth that believes in its own mythological B.S.

We rely for guidance on our bible, our constitution, which cannot possibly guide us out of our situation in the 21st. The best thing for us is total collapse, a some kind of geographical split along ideological lines and then slow rebuilding.

There's no other way. There're just too many people who disagree with each other, who don't know and don't wanna know each other, who are trying to rip each other off, and just way too many brain-damaged and heavily armed people.
We're at a developmental dead end.

That's why I will support McCAin/Palin presidency as the best way to ensure the fastest total collapse of the USA, a cleansing by fire to follow, and emergence of a rebuilt new county, or several of them. Better one(s), one hopes.

Posted by: VMR1 | October 28, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Chris: Always enjoy your articles and TV comments. Look if the WPA was puy back into effect; folks began working and having integrity by building roads, bridges, assisting in technology, fast speed trains and had the same health/ mental/ dental benefits every congress person had it would be a step in the right direction of fairness. I don't think that fits into a label- except a sense of belonging to something greater - generivity/ contribution for self and the greater good- for all & for each other. That is true Social Democracy. It's ok to make a million and be taxed 50% you still have a million; where $40,000 be taxed at 5%. Programs to address the future of disease, space travel food growth, medicine, etc. that are run with integrity. Now try and put a label on that!

Posted by: crrobin | October 28, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

.

.

A year ago I would have agreed with you that we are a center-right country.


However how do you account for the apparently millions who support the ultra-left high-tax socialist Black-Liberation-Thelogy Obama ???


Some of these people are post-midlife crisis protester-wannabees who yearn for the 60s to come back. Yea, they get out of their white mercedes and they want to go to a flower child rally.


These people believe the Weather Underground is "cool." Did it ever disband? Obama could be a secret member for all we know.


The members of the Weather Underground have been attempting to infiltrate the Democratic National Committee for decades - they were at the Democratic National Committee during Bill Clinton's transition period in 1992 - 1993. The Washington Post really should track these people and see what they have been up to - one thing they have been doing is mentoring Obama.


I find this entire development quite concerning - IF ONE ACTUALLY READS WILLIAM AYERS' WRITINGS FROM THE 60s - Ayers says he wants to create an alliance with the forces of Black Liberation Theology and destroy America from that direction.


Even MSNBC is now slamming the New York Times on media bias - that is hilarious however the problem has been so severe they cannot deceive anymore. At least admitting media bias on a morning show is a first step.


Let's see the media actually do their investigative reporting and do ONE PIECE on the philosophy of the Church of Black Liberation Theology.

IT WAS ACTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO GET THE MEDIA TO REPORT ON THE DETAILS OF BLACK LIBERATION THEOLOGY UNTIL REV. WRIGHT TRAVELED ALL THE WAY TO THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB IN WASHINGTON DC AND SAID ABOUT 15 OUTRAGEOUS RACIST THINGS ON THE UNFILTERED C-SPAN.

Black Liberation Theology adherents see everything through "white values" and "black values" - and they are still seeking compensation for slavery and the Jim Crow era. The media is invited to research the thinking of Dorothy Tilman, Alderman in Chicago.

Please remember the adherents of Black Liberation Theology are TEACHING THEIR CHILDREN THIS NONSENSE.

Please then remember that Obama and his wife brought their children to this Church for years (until it was politically impossible for Obama to continue to bring his children to this hate-filled place) and that Obama gave the Church of Black Liberation Theology $20,000.00 in one year.

.


.

Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 28, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

SinnedNoir:

Excellent points. One problem that makes us go back to the wall and bang our collective head against it over and over again is that Americans don't appear to have a national memory. And if you don't have that, you can't learn from history.

A Homo Americansis has been bred and conditioned to love hard work, to be religious, patriotic, to be very acquisitive and not very inquisitive, and to go nearly insane at the sight of anything new. A perfect creature for the American-style capitalism. The critical mass of our population are such people.
This wasn't the case in 1929.

Posted by: VMR1 | October 28, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

.

.

A year ago I would have agreed with you that we are a center-right country.


However how do you account for the apparently millions who support the ultra-left high-tax socialist Black-Liberation-Thelogy Obama ???


Some of these people are post-midlife crisis protester-wannabees who yearn for the 60s to come back. Yea, they get out of their white mercedes and they want to go to a flower child rally.


These people believe the Weather Underground is "cool." Did it ever disband? Obama could be a secret member for all we know.


The members of the Weather Underground have been attempting to infiltrate the Democratic National Committee for decades - they were at the Democratic National Committee during Bill Clinton's transition period in 1992 - 1993. The Washington Post really should track these people and see what they have been up to - one thing they have been doing is mentoring Obama.


I find this entire development quite concerning - IF ONE ACTUALLY READS WILLIAM AYERS' WRITINGS FROM THE 60s - Ayers says he wants to create an alliance with the forces of Black Liberation Theology and destroy America from that direction.


Even MSNBC is now slamming the New York Times on media bias - that is hilarious however the problem has been so severe they cannot deceive anymore. At least admitting media bias on a morning show is a first step.


Let's see the media actually do their investigative reporting and do ONE PIECE on the philosophy of the Church of Black Liberation Theology.

IT WAS ACTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO GET THE MEDIA TO REPORT ON THE DETAILS OF BLACK LIBERATION THEOLOGY UNTIL REV. WRIGHT TRAVELED ALL THE WAY TO THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB IN WASHINGTON DC AND SAID ABOUT 15 OUTRAGEOUS RACIST THINGS ON THE UNFILTERED C-SPAN.

Black Liberation Theology adherents see everything through "white values" and "black values" - and they are still seeking compensation for slavery and the Jim Crow era. The media is invited to research the thinking of Dorothy Tilman, Alderman in Chicago.

Please remember the adherents of Black Liberation Theology are TEACHING THEIR CHILDREN THIS NONSENSE.

Please then remember that Obama and his wife brought their children to this Church for years (until it was politically impossible for Obama to continue to bring his children to this hate-filled place) and that Obama gave the Church of Black Liberation Theology $20,000.00 in one year.

.


.

Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 28, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

SEN. OBAMA FREE CANDY POLICY WOULD HURT ALL AMERICANS, INCLUDING THE POOR!!!

* If we start tax penalizing working people and give away free money to people, then what motivation will there be for receivers to do the right thing to improve themselves? This free candy policy is a 70's/80's Democratic policy. It rewarded negative behavior and penalizes positive behavior. With this policy, people got stuck in welfare and unemployment benefits for extended period. It also degraded our economy because these people found it more easy to take free benefits than to go work.

* Many Asian nations do not accept American aid anymore because they realize welfarism is terrible. They found out that welfarism makes them too dependent on America and prevents them from figuring out solutions to their problems.


BTW, giving to the poor is good. However, changing our (efficient generating) capitalistic/free market system into a welfarism system is not good. Welfarism will prolong poor people's problems and suffering, and at the same time drag the rest of Americans down. This is true. We have seen the disaster this welfarism economic policy caused during the 70's/80's. It also caused a financial institution mess because Barney Franks, Chris Dodd and Democrats caused banks to give unqualified borrowers loans.


Posted by: lazerboy | October 28, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Did John McCain kill someone?

Is McCain hiding his involvement in a fatal car crash years ago?

If not, why is the US Navy helping him to cover up the facts?

Get the latest details at:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/28/news-orgs-investig ate-po
s_n_138449.html

Posted by: mykolas1 | October 28, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Ben Franklin said, "When the people find they can vote themselves money,
that will herald the end of the republic."

Unfortunately the modern political process seems determined to test this. Obama's promises that, "I will cut your taxes, institute new programs to benefit you, and pay for it by taxing someone else." Self government should work by people agreeing to tax themselves in order to pay for what they determine to be in the public good. The current mindset is extremely troubling. There seems to be a lack of a common consensus of what is "fair". I am not sure there is any tax policy we can inplement that won't leave a major chunk of the population feeling they have been treated fundamentally unfairly.

Both political parties are preaching to their constituants that the other party's constituants are screwing them, and promising to "get even" if elected. This is not a good thing.

Posted by: zack2 | October 28, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

This is such BS, "liberal, conservative" or such are just labels, as someone said already, the right wing media (Fox, talk radio) have done a good job mocking the liberal label to death. But if you look at the actual policy position of the general voter, the "liberal" positions have became the new center of the America society: general support for universal health care(paid for by higher taxes), more generous help(government support) for the poor/working poor, stronger regulations for business in general, and very strong support in general for choice(at least until sec tri), etc. This non-sense of US being center right country is just that, non-sense.

Posted by: dailykos1 | October 28, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

This is such BS, "liberal, conservative" or such are just labels, as someone said already, the right wing media (Fox, talk radio) have done a good job mocking the liberal label to death. But if you look at the actual policy position of the general voter, the "liberal" positions have became the new center of the America society: general support for universal health care(paid for by higher taxes), more generous help(government support) for the poor/working poor, stronger regulations for business in general, and very strong support in general for choice(at least until sec tri), etc. This non-sense of US being center right country is just that, non-sense.

Posted by: dailykos1 | October 28, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

When people who support warrantless domestic spying and Wall Street bailouts call themselves "conservative," the word itself has lost all meaning.

Posted by: FlownOver | October 28, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Why is transfering Wealth from RIch OIL companies and sending it to all Alaskans not socialist or marxist? Do Alaskans that don't pay taxes get money too?

Sarah?

Posted by: capinfusion | October 28, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

When you ask the wrong question, you very rarely get the right answer. Left, right, and center are poorly defined terms, liberal, moderate, and progressive aren't much better defined, and conservative is well defined, but in inconsistent ways.

To do the game properly, statistically, you would have to first define the parameters that would distribute voters, and Citizens in toto, into those defined categories. then using the statistical curve of normal distribution, and the fact that curve is symetrical and therefore always centrist, distribute the responses, and the self defined categories, and see how they fall. Conservatives, being convinced that they are a numerical majority in the voting public (else why would they ascribe to themselves such fundamental principles as "American" and "Patriotic") would, by their criteria, be center right. Since 9n fact they may represent 20% of the voters, they fall well within the far right.

Properly, probably, Moderates and Progressives ARE the center, and therefor Liberals are the left. Now decide which way you will devide he populations: by thirds, or by quarters?

At this point you might define a metric of attitudes toward political, economic, social, and personal values, find the current center most element of that spectrum, define it as a cursor, and watch to see where that spectrum measurement falls in the curve over time. THAT metric might be left or right trending, and might mean something.

But by definition, the American people, and the American electorate is centrist.

I, by comparison, find myself solidly in the liberal third of the curve.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 28, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the voices on this page who question the degree of "extremeness" with which conservative and liberal labels are applied. I think most people in the country are moderates on economic issues, slightly conservative on social issues, and more conservative on foreign policy stances.

That said, I think the Republican party has become so dependent on social conservative postures as a means to secure its political base that it has used it as a crutch, and become incompetent managers in the following subject areas: good-ethical-government, economic and fiscal policy and the importance of maintaining professional quality versus ideological loyalty in the federal service.

The Republicans got too dependent on social conservatism and national security as political crutches to secure a power base, that it let itself go in its performance as managers of the county. The Republican party depended on its base issues, as if it were an obese, aging housewife who believes her great cooking alone will keep her successful executive husband by her side forever.

In letting itself go like that, the Republican party has reminded the electorate how unimportant these wedge issues are, when the people who use them as litmus tests are not competent enough to speak about the economy or run the government coherently. By becoming so incompetent and uncredible in managing the economy, running the Iraq war and in other ways, the Republicans have themselves undermined in the public mind the importance of focus on social issues and litmus tests in picking leaders.

Cillizza's question is a good one, but again, I say: how do we define what is conservative, what is liberal and where do we draw the line between slight-right and right-wing, or moderate and extremist?

I think that these definitions are shifting as we write.

Posted by: AsperGirl | October 28, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the voices on this page who question the degree of "extremeness" with which conservative and liberal labels are applied. I think most people in the country are moderates on economic issues, slightly conservative on social issues, and more conservative on foreign policy stances.

That said, I think the Republican party has become so dependent on social conservative postures as a means to secure its political base that it has used it as a crutch, and become incompetent managers in the following subject areas: good-ethical-government, economic and fiscal policy and the importance of maintaining professional quality versus ideological loyalty in the federal service.

The Republicans got too dependent on social conservatism and national security as political crutches to secure a power base, that it let itself go in its performance as managers of the county. The Republican party depended on its base issues, as if it were an obese, aging housewife who believes her great cooking alone will keep her successful executive husband by her side forever.

In letting itself go like that, the Republican party has reminded the electorate how unimportant these wedge issues are, when the people who use them as litmus tests are not competent enough to speak about the economy or run the government coherently. By becoming so incompetent and uncredible in managing the economy, running the Iraq war and in other ways, the Republicans have themselves undermined in the public mind the importance of focus on social issues and litmus tests in picking leaders.

Cillizza's question is a good one, but again, I say: how do we define what is conservative, what is liberal and where do we draw the line between slight-right and right-wing, or moderate and extremist?

I think that these definitions are shifting as we write.

Posted by: AsperGirl | October 28, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

“Conservative” is “We do it, so it the right thing to do”, while Liberal is “It is the right thing to do, so we must do it”.
-----------------------

Nonsense.

Conservatism relies upon the past. It seeks answers in the documents of history. From ancient religious texts to the latest Supreme Court rulings. Their strength is their reliance upon the collective wisdom of history, their weakness is their unwillingness to break new ground and adapt to the evolution of reality.

Liberalism lives in the present, freely adapting the old to serve the new. It is constantly trying out new ideas and finding new solutions. Its strength is in its openness to changing conditions and willingness to experiment, its weakness is its willingness to too quickly discard the past to embrace the future.

Harmony lives in the middle. Respecting the past but adapting to the present.

This is why literal interpretations of the Constitution (or religious texts) get us no where. We must always adapt to the present. All of reality is constantly evolving and we must evolve with it, keeping the good and letting go of the no longer useful.

Conservative and liberal are both good.
Extremism is not.

Seek the middle.

Posted by: wpost4112 | October 28, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

McCain finally found a message - forget the cultural right and speak to the economy. ..............

http://thefiresidepost.com/2008/10/27/mccain-has-found-his-voice-but-it-is-too-late/

Posted by: glclark4750 | October 28, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

“Conservative” is “We do it, so it the right thing to do”, while Liberal is “It is the right thing to do, so we must do it”. Animals (non-human ones included) are fearful of change because all change entails risk, and their abilities to determine what really is “right” is limited largely to trial and error. It is safer to do what you did yesterday or to do what your parents did, because that was survived. But animals that never change, never find anything better; they remain trapped in an evolutionary dead end. So animals must blend a lot of conservatism (for safety) with a little bit of liberalism (for progress). And we humans inevitably inherit that “Center-right” disposition. We might hope that we humans are better equipped to evaluate which changes are 'right' using our powers of reason, but there is little evidence of that, particularly in the blogsphere. Conservatives defend the status quo by throwing labels (“liberal”, “socialist”, “Marxist”, “terrorist”), while change-agents get frustrated throwing 'reason' at them to no avail, and so the argument devolves to bilateral name-calling. Sadly, we have progressed so little from the animals.

Posted by: davepullin | October 28, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Who cares about the poll..just look to how people actually behave.

Of course this country is conservative.

Women and minorities are still on the fringes of all power structures, religion is still woven tightly through our culture, and we are intensely conformist and upset by non-conformity.

No liberal nation would actually countenance a VP candidate who does not believe in evolution.

Conservatism is not bad, as long as it is seasoned with liberality. The problem today is that extreme conservatism, in the form of Xtian fundamentalism has usurped the conservative title, forcing a resurgence of far left ideology to creater balance.

We need to seek the center. And center Right is not a bad place to be. But can we as a nation recognize that religion belongs in the home and not in government? That morality is part of citizenship? The the rule of law is what keeps us from our down fall as a nation?

McCain/Palin moves us towards the extreme Xtian fundamentalism. Obama/Biden moves us towards the center.

Heck, even the Financial Times just endorsed Obama! Not exactly the center of socialist thinking.

What threatens us (the USA as well as the world) most is religious fundamentalism, be it Islamic, Christian, Hindu or Judaic.

Religious beliefs belong to the personal realm and should never be imposed through law.

The rule of law, based on reason and natural human rights is the true core of human political success.

That is our only hope.

Posted by: wpost4112 | October 28, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

No...we are left of center...which is now the real center.

as much as Foxnews and the rightwing have tried to fight to change that.

When we look back at the decade that hurt us...one entity is going to be blamed more than any other including Cheney and Bush and Rove...

when Republican operatives built their own "news station" ...

the last decade of mistakes will be linked by a subtly evil (this is the perfect example of why Aristotle said that politics were inherently evil because one party can disguise their agenda as truth)


Roger "Mr.ex Republican Operative" Ailes' Foxnews.

when America finally learns they were a PR entity built to appeal to the worst sides of being human...in a deft and subtle way to influence the politics in this country

that got us the last 8 years.

Posted by: klondike2 | October 28, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin is dead on.

The country is moderate. The question is, what does moderate or centrist mean?

The majority of Americans, including a strong majority of those with no political party affiliation, are in favor of the government guaranteeing health insurance coverage for all.

http://www.pollingreport.com/health3.htm

A thin majority of Americans think their taxes are too high. Strangely, most people think that the amount of tax they pay is fair.
Not surprisingly, most people also think that upper-income earners and corporations aren't paying enough.

http://www.pollingreport.com/budget.htm

Those are both fairly leftist views.

This country is a big tent. There's no way to clearly define where this country is on the political spectrum. The only thing that you can do is take a look at individual issues, and draw your conclusions about where America stands from there. We're at the center: it's just that the center moves from time to time.

mark, you're right that the center is further to the left than it was in 1984. The center fluctuates over periods lasting a couple of decades.

I think that the current political climate is an overreaction to the hard-right tack America took after 9/11. I suspect that things will begin to stabilize around 2010, 2012 at the latest.

Posted by: cam8 | October 28, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I totally agree with those who say this survey is meaningless. People have no consistent definition of these labels. An issue based survey is more revealing. For example, I have a friend who claims to be against big government programs. Yet, he has no reservations about accepting over $100,000 a year in government subsidies to care for his special needs child who suffers from autism and seizures. There is social conservatism and their is fiscal conservatism. Then there is anti-government people who want free rein to practice greedy practices at the expense of society without any legal accountability.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | October 28, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

good luck, losers'

NOBAMA

Posted by: USA3
***********************
leaving so soon, 'tard? bye, and good luck in the next country you land in. I don't think nose-picking is job skill you can use to gain employment, but who knows...

Posted by: LABC | October 28, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

'center-right' on what scale?

Given the abuse of language in US politics - such as describing Reagan-levels of taxation as 'socialism' - it is illogical to ask poll respondents to rate themselves on a left-right scale & claim valid results.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 28, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

randallknight's post at 6:41 says all that needs to be said about this topic. Asking people about labels is lazy and unproductive. The poll should have asked about positions on the issues. Especially since few people are equally liberal/conservative on all issues.

Posted by: Blarg | October 28, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

After 20 or more years of dumpinmg on the very word liberal, of course people are not going to want to identify with the term, unless they are diehards. The questions that this poll should ask sould be about policy, not labels. I do know this, this center-right thing is a complete myth. To even say this while we are watching convservative policies and politicians being COMPLETELY REPUDIATED right in front of our eyes, is to play us for complete fools. This new congress had BETTER implement the progressive agenda that they are being elected for. This center-right bull be damned.

Posted by: mijoh | October 28, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I believe this polling is fundamentally flawed, mainly because I don't believe Americans truly understand what the terms, liberal or conservative truly mean. Also given the massive government intervention that is going to be necessary to fix the financial crisis, Americans will be forced to swallow a more liberal agenda, whether they like it or not, just as President Bush, Secretary Paulson, and Alan Greenspan have all had to do, following the liberal/socialist lead of Europe. Lastly, I have never accepted that America is a center-right nation, because Americans are hooked on getting stuff from the government, and you can see from the expansion of government under every Republican president in the last 40 years as exhibit A!

Americans are going to be looking for solutions, with the gigantic debt, taxes will have to be raised, with health care cost bankrupting everyone's retirement savings, the cost savings of universal health care will be attractive, with unemployment rising and the need to invest in infrastructure as well as move towards real energy independence, government subsidies and spending will be very popular.

It is arguable that over the past few decades as Americans prosperity seemed unchallenged, Americans didn't need to vote their pocketbook; periphery issues and identity politics prevailed, but when people are struggling, just as in the Great Depression, Americans will remember who pulled our behinds out of the fire then, and who know how to use government to pull our behinds out the fire now, and that is liberals and Democrats!

Posted by: SinnedNoir | October 28, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

From a non-US perspective, the US is far right. If you wish, you can distill this from the endorsements Obama is getting from conservative media in Europe and elsewhere.

In any case, the world is looking forward to inauguration day, hoping the US will return into the international community.
It is assumed that even John McCain would make small steps in this direction.

Posted by: awaler | October 28, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

It's too bad the republicans are now far-far right. their toxic and let the crazies take over the party.

Posted by: obrier2 | October 28, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I like the line "instinctively conservative." This country calls itself conservative, and at the gut-reaction level, probably tends conservative primarily because that's how people self-identify. But this is mostly due to the electoral and marketing success of the Republican party over the last 30 years. They've turned the word "liberal" into a dirty word, and people shy away from it. But that doesn't mean that people don't believe in "liberal" causes. A majority of Americans are in favor of a national health plan. The majority believe in global warming and believe that something should be done about it. Privatizing Social Security was so unpopular that the Bush administration couldn't get it done when they held all the reins in Washington in the first half of the decade. And despite the fact that the Republican electoral success has been built on the foundations of the Religious Right, abortion rights remain largely untouched. Of course, too much change too fast would scare people off. But if, for example, Obama delivers on his health care plan, and gets the logistics right, I don't think too many people will be upset about it, and instead, people will become less skeptical of government. It'll take time for them to get used to calling themselves "liberal" though.

Posted by: zperez | October 28, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

A conservative nation would demand social security be eliminated. A conservative nation would demand that all welfare be eliminated. A conservative nation would demand the death penalty in every state. A conservative nation would have overturned Roe v. Wade years ago. A conservative nation would have eliminated Medicare, not expand it. When you look at the local issues we rarely see a true conservative agenda.

This nation is liberal, always has been and always will be. Liberals forged this nation, taking the conservative laws and governance of England and turning it on its head by giving to its citizens not just fair laws, but rights that are derived from God, not the state. It enshrined that all men are created equal and that laws apply to everyone. And the most liberal notion of all was that no one was entitled to govern, instead governance was determined by the people. In 1776 there was nothing more liberal than that.

Since then this nation has done what few other nations have done. Rural electrification gave power to the poor heartland turning it into a bread basket. The interstate highway system brought America closer and increased commerce. Social Security lifted millions of elderly and disabled out of poverty. Welfare saved countless lives that would have succumbed to the diseases of poverty. Religious institutions were separated from the state to protect them. OSHA has made the workplace safer. The FDA has made our food and drugs safer. The FAA has made our skies safer. The FHA has made home ownership a reality for millions. Few of these were forged by conservative minds. If conservatives had their way, most of these agencies of government would not exist.

So don't look to what people identify themselves as, see what laws they are for and against, see what agencies of government they like and don't like. America is a liberal nation, we just are left liberal and right liberal. To find a real conservative you need look for a guy like Putin.

The republican party has been moving more toward true conservatism, starting with Reagan, and the results have been devastating. True conservatism is unAmerican, and liberal America is responding to this new conservative agenda, which will soon lose in a landslide, reaffirming America as a liberal nation that tested itself.

Posted by: bevjims1 | October 28, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Concerning the following"

LIBERAL---- no who cashed rebate check.

DEMOCRAT--- one who is hungry,
broke jobless
"

As a first generation college graduate, from blue-collar parents, I don't seem to fit this model.

- I consider it a privilege and duty to pay taxes to help support those who didn't the brass ring of a full scholarship to college.
- Taxes fund the military and veteran programs (my father and father-in-law are Vietnam vets).
- I am a corporate executive.
- I am a veteran.

I am a Democrat.

Posted by: frankinbend | October 28, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

the liberals have gotten a free ride,
playing the blame game unheralded
for the last eight years.
the majority of the country
is RIGHT/CENTER.
and it is our turn to watch
obama pelosi reid frank
get their share of the blame.
they are clueless
but get a bye from our lame liberal
MEDIA (read Wash.Post/NY times/NBC )

good luck, losers'

NOBAMA

Posted by: USA3 | October 28, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

The only agreeable part of this poorly executed argument is that a greater number of people than what may have been expected call themselves Conservative. I think an important factor that probably could not be adequately covered, but at least mentioned, is how these terms "Liberal" "Moderate" and "Conservative" have been packaged and sold to the American people by the Republican party in an effort to control how people identify themselves in an American political perspective. The GOP has very effectively vilified the term "Liberal" over the past 20 years, forcing those who actually are liberal to consider themselves "Moderate", and the same goes for "Moderate", forcing those who are moderate or "Centrist" to consider themselves "Conservative". After people are fooled into identifying with one group or another, it has been the GOP strategy for two decades, to prey on fear and insecurity that is innate in all people, from all walks of life.

In choosing not to define these three definitions within it, this article, whatever its intent, continues to facilitate this strategy of the Republican Party.

Posted by: usliberal | October 28, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

LIBERAL---- no who cashed rebate check.

DEMOCRAT--- one who is hungry, broke, jobless.

Posted by: dv1236 | October 28, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

We will lurch to the left... TO THE CENTER!

To 37th and O St.:
=
=
(see, we can all use HTML to try to make our points stand out, but it's the words, not the markup language).
=
=
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."
=
=
People have been trying to scare voters against Obama since the beginning (remember that little dustup with Hillary Clinton?). The fact that McCain keeps trying despite poll numbers that showing it's hurting him, not Obama says he has no capacity for dynamic thinking and that he has no ideas of his own. He can only hope to win through fear, but it won't work.
=
=
=
And you, you're trying to scare people with words as well. However, John McCain has already scared them with his actions this political season. He's been bouncing off all four walls and the ceiling. Barack has had -- and will have -- the steady hand on the rudder.
=
=
Even his VP nominee has gone rogue against him. Join THINKING conservatives like Christopher Buckley, Peggy Noonan, Andrew Sullivan, Wick Allison (a former Editor of The National Review), Scott McClellan, Ken Adelman in voting for Obama. In fact, the only ones who are still for McCain are the puppets like Rush and everyone on Fox -- who were AGAINST McCain in the primaries, by the way.
=
=
=
Sad, sad, sad.... end of the era started by Reagan. But the beginning of a new bi-partisan one.

Posted by: kiernanje | October 28, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

ldncarl has it exactly right. A majority of the country is probably liberal, but either don't know it or don't want to subscribe to that label due to the mudslinging that the right has done to the term.

Posted by: df198081 | October 28, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

jgcomm - not only that but it has been shown that while 90% of statistics can be made to show anything you want, over 53% of statistics are made up on the spot.

;)

Posted by: festinog | October 28, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

18% of Republicans don't even know that the acronym GOP stands for the Republican Party. These political labels are meaningless when contrasted against specific policies. I'd also be willing to bet that 23% of likely voters don't know what an acronym is.

Posted by: gjcomm | October 28, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

This is a curious argument to make. The "median" of political opinion is always, in the static sense and by definition, the dead center.

The trick is to get a sense of where the center moves, over time. My own sense is that the center is to the right of where it was in 1964 and to the left of where it was in 1984.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 28, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

I agree strongly with "idncarl," who totally stole my thunder. I think this is assessment is dead wrong because the polls show a labelling issue, not a cognitive one.

I've encountered polls (well, scholarly research, actually) which indicates that many people who say they are "conservative," when asked about policy preferences, actually support a liberal policy agenda.

In other words, people don't now what "conservative" really stnad for: they've just been convinced that it sounds better.

Posted by: pasc1 | October 28, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Chris:

A year ago I would have agreed with you that we are a center-right country


However how do you account for the apparently millions who support the ultra-left high-tax socialist Black-Liberation-Thelogy Obama ???


Some of these people are post-midlife crisis protester-wannabees who yearn for the 60s to come back. Yea, they get out of their white mercedes and they want to go to a flower child rally.


These people believe the Weather Underground is "cool." Did it ever disband? Obama could be a secret member for all we know.


The members of the Weather Underground have been attempting to infiltrate the Democratic National Committee for decades - they were at the Democratic National Committee during Bill Clinton's transition period in 1992 - 1993. The Washington Post really should track these people and see what they have been up to - one thing they have been doing is mentoring Obama.


yea.


I find this entire development quite concerning - CHRIS IF YOU ACTUALLY READ WILLIAM AYERS' WRITINGS FROM THE 60s - Ayers says he wants to create an alliance with the forces of Black Liberation Theology and destroy America from that direction.


Even MSNBC this morning was slamming the New York Times on media bias - that is hilarious however the problem has been so severe they cannot deceive anymore and having Joe and Mika admit and discuss it is at least a first step.


Chris - let's see you do ONE PIECE on the philosophy of the Church of Black Liberation Theology - how they see everything through "white values" and "black values" and REMIND EVERYONE THEY ARE TEACHING THEIR CHILDREN THIS NONSENSE. Then remind everyone that Obama gave the Church of Black Liberation Theology $20,000.00 in one year.

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Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 28, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

jbrinkmeyer - Well put.

In the last few years people have grown more sensitive to other peoples beliefs and lifestyles. Consequently many words, which before would have been used without reservation to describe/insult someone, have been removed from the modern lexicon and rightly so. It is no coincidence that "Red" is not one of them. Though McCarthyism was ultimately defeated, it's legacy lives on. To call someone a "red", "commie" or socialist remains an unquestioned and legitimate label, regardless to how removed from reality it has become. For instance, Europe has been labelled "socialist" by many elements in society and as a result any support Obama gains from that quarter is immediately viewed as suspicious and anti-American by many people. And yet McCain has recently taken to quoting the Irish business tax rate an example of how uncompetitive the American market has become. No one takes the effort to point out this contradiciont.

Incidentally he quotes the Irish rate as 11%, he's wrong; it is in fact 12.5%. This is still lower than the American rate so I'm not sure why he persists in mis-representing it. Similarly no-one is pointing out the remarkable irony that as a result of this recent massive bail-out, the American economy is now more fundamentally "socialist" than anything in Europe!

As an addendum: McCain, while busy pointing out Irelands low business tax rate, never draws attention to the fact that in order to make up for this loss in government revenue the average Irish tax payer pays between 25-45% income tax. As opposed to the average American rate of beteen 15-25%. So does McCain envision raising the tax rate on the average American worker in order to fund even more tax cuts for the business world?

Posted by: festinog | October 28, 2008 7:31 AM | Report abuse


The press didn't make liberal a dirty word, the liberals did. situational ethics are a cover words for no ethics. If one believes the only greedy liars are of the republican party, they are blind. Both parties in America have succumbed to the philosophy of . "it depends on what you mean by is" . Left, right, has no meaning, both parties will do or say anything to win. We have lost the right to judge each other because no one has any grasp on philosophy or morals or ethics. just juvenile gimme, gimme, gimme. Read Atlas Shrugged and get back. We should all be ashamed of what we have let America become...meaningless greed and hate.

Posted by: jstratt2 | October 28, 2008 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Labels such as 'liberal' and 'conservative' have been so overused they almost describe nothing except people entrenched at opposite ends of every issues. In reality, I don't think it's that simple. More to the point is that many Americans are slightly progressive on social issues and slightly conservative on fiscal matters.

I think Obama is smart enough to realize this and will look to gain consensus on issues. The 'smarter' politicians in each party will engage in the debate. Others will dig their heels in to guard their corner...

And in some cases, I think programs such as 'universal health care' may be about to have their day.

Posted by: RickJ | October 28, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

No one is talking about reality. If Obama wins, he will get over 95% black vote. Most black population are poor and less educated. They expect something from Obama for their support. Obama, as a black man should respond their needs. The liberal wing of the democractic party will also ask him to change the country's economic spectrum to the "left of the swing". Under the present global economic system, such a move will alienate majority Americans from Obama. If democracts control both houses of the congress, they will support Obama to move to the left in economic & social matters. That will the starting point of the decline of world order.
American public should think before voting.

Posted by: madayilnair | October 28, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Chris:

A year ago I would have agreed with you that we are a center-right country


However how do you account for the apparently millions who support the ultra-left high-tax socialist Black-Liberation-Thelogy Obama ???


Some of these people are post-midlife crisis protester-wannabees who yearn for the 60s to come back. Yea, they get out of their white mercedes and they want to go to a flower child rally.

These people believe the Weather Underground is "cool." Did it ever disband? Obama could be a secret member for all we know.


The members of the Weather Underground have been attempting to infiltrate the Democratic National Committee for decades - they were at the Democratic National Committee during Bill Clinton's transition period in 1992 - 1993. The Washington Post really should track these people and see what they have been up to - one thing they have been doing is mentoring Obama.

yea.

I find this entire development quite concerning - CHRIS IF YOU ACTUALLY READ WILLIAM AYERS' WRITINGS FROM THE 60s - Ayers says he wants to create an alliance with the forces of Black Liberation Theology and destroy America from that direction.

Even MSNBC this morning was slamming the New York Times on media bias - that is hilarious however the problem has been so severe they cannot deceive anymore and having Joe and Mika admit and discuss it is at least a first step.


Chris - let's see you do ONE PIECE on the philosophy of the Church of Black Liberation Theology - how they see everything through "white values" and "black values" and REMIND EVERYONE THEY ARE TEACHING THEIR CHILDREN THIS NONSENSE. Then remind everyone that Obama gave the Church of Black Liberation Theology $20,000.00 in one year.

.

.

Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 28, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Everybody thinks the "country" is, politically, what they are themselves, because (after all) they feel they have arrived at a logical, "aware" place. Hogwash.

The "country" has consistently voted in Presidential elections for the person who looked more comfortable on the T.V. camera, since the '60s. Carter v. Ford, Reagan v. Carter or Mondale, Bush v. Dukakis, Clinton v. ANYONE, Bush v. Gore, and v. Kerry.

It never varies. We are a nation of idiots, because for good or ill the better liar ALWAYS looks more comfortable on camera. They are not burdened by respect for the truth, or a good-old fear of hell.

And we are about to elect Obama and do it again. As they say, nobody ever went broke betting on the stupidity of the American voter.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies1 | October 28, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

When Gallop did a poll on this same question a few years ago, they found that the country was center-right but only if didn't include non-voters. If you included the people that don't vote, the country was center-left. In other words, if you include all the people in the country, it is actually much more liberal than commonly thought.

The explanation for this is that since Regan, the right wing have been very energized to vote. I suspect the events of the past eight years have energized a lot of non-voting liberals.

Posted by: elfish | October 28, 2008 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Obama seems to be more aware than most of the need for such compromise, and more skilled than most in creating such unity.

Posted by: janawalter87 | October 28, 2008 6:57 AM | Report abuse

.

.

Let's not argue if Obama is a socialist or not - Let's just ask Obama DIRECTLY if he thinks the Courts should REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH IN THIS COUNTRY:

.


Old Tape of Obama Revealing His Real Thinking:


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.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iivL4c_3pck


.

.


.


Let's all review how this year, not decades ago. OBAMA REFUSED TO DISAVOW Rev. Wright and his BLACK LIBERATION THEOLOGY TEACHINGS.


What is worse is that Obama exposed his children to the HATE OF BLACK LIBERATION THEOLOGY FOR YEARS.


EXPOSED HIS CHILDREN TO THAT RACIST HATE UNTIL IT BECAME POLITICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR OBAMA TO CONTINUE TO BRING HIS CHILDREN TO THE RACIST CHURCH !


IF A WHITE candidate had a similar church, the Washignton Post would be railing against that candidate.


The bias is great, the racism is unbelievable. The media has given Obama so many passes.


Then they have to go and get some FALSE CHARGES FROM DECADES AGO.


Investigate Obama and his democratic friends in Chicago.


Investigate his friend REZKO who has been indicted and whose story much of America does not know.


Investigate all the connections between Michele Obama and Farrakhan.


BE SERIOUS MEDIA.


YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING DRINKING THE KOOL-AID OF THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN TALKING POINTS AS IF IT WERE TRUTH.


.


.

Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 28, 2008 6:57 AM | Report abuse

I believe you are essentially correct, Chris. We are a "center right" country. This explains the McCain strategy. Desperate to divert attention away from what is essentially Bush redux by a candidate who admitted early on that economics is not his strong suit, McCain and Palin have latched on to a couple of slips of the tongue that suggest (but have nothing to give them credence) that Obama is a "social" or even (as a clueless TV reporter put it) a "Marxist." They know what scares folks. It isn't "fascist." It's "communist."

What has gotten lost in all of this, however, is the fact that while Obama does have a progressive agenda, it is exactly that - progressive as opposed to "socialist." Socialism is a discredited ideology that belongs to a past that Obama does not subscribe to. His will be a savvy, future-oriented agenda more in tune with global markets and promoting policies that will allow for full employment and fair wages than the discredited policies of statist socialism. There is no evidence to the contrary.

Unfortunately, those who can least afford another four years of laize faire cut throat Bush-style trickle-down vodoo economics are being drawn into McCain's orbit. He's providing them the knife to cut their own throats. Worse, he's playing them for dupes.

Wake up, people. You're being had.

Posted by: jbrinkmeyer | October 28, 2008 6:51 AM | Report abuse

.


.

.

.

Old Tape of Obama Revealing His Real Thinking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iivL4c_3pck

.


.


.


Let's all review how this year, not decades ago. OBAMA REFUSED TO DISAVOW Rev. Wright and his BLACK LIBERATION THEOLOGY TEACHINGS.


What is worse is that Obama exposed his children to the HATE OF BLACK LIBERATION THEOLOGY FOR YEARS.


EXPOSED HIS CHILDREN TO THAT RACIST HATE UNTIL IT BECAME POLITICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR OBAMA TO CONTINUE TO BRING HIS CHILDREN TO THE RACIST CHURCH !


IF A WHITE candidate had a similar church, the Washignton Post would be railing against that candidate.


The bias is great, the racism is unbelievable. The media has given Obama so many passes.


Then they have to go and get some FALSE CHARGES FROM DECADES AGO.


Investigate Obama and his democratic friends in Chicago.


Investigate his friend REZKO who has been indicted and whose story much of America does not know.


Investigate all the connections between Michele Obama and Farrakhan.


BE SERIOUS MEDIA.


YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING DRINKING THE KOOL-AID OF THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN TALKING POINTS AS IF IT WERE TRUTH.


.


.

Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 28, 2008 6:46 AM | Report abuse

There is a pretty big fallacy with this analysis. "Liberal" and "conservative" are labels that most people don't understand. Rather than ask if a person is liberal or conservative, the poll should ask the voter's opinion on specific issues. The term "liberal" has been used so derisively over the past several years that I would guess that many people are reluctant to associate themselves with that label. At the same time, the majority of people in the U.S. support most "liberal" ideas.

Posted by: randallknight | October 28, 2008 6:41 AM | Report abuse

I don't believe that we are as centre-right as some conservatives would have us believe. This poll (and others like it) asks people to identify themselves as "liberal, moderate, or conservative". The right-wing has done a very good job of making "liberal" a dirty word, so the results of this poll may reflect that - politically unastute people who have been colored by the re-defining of the word "liberal" over the past generation.

Posted by: ldncarl | October 28, 2008 6:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't believe that we are as centre-right as some conservatives would have us believe. This poll (and others like it) asks people to identify themselves as "liberal, moderate, or conservative". The right-wing has done a very good job of making "liberal" a dirty word, so the results of this poll may reflect that - politically unastute people who have been colored by the re-defining of the word "liberal" over the past generation.

Posted by: ldncarl | October 28, 2008 6:38 AM | Report abuse

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