|New Poll Presents the 2008 Electorate’s Views on Government|
In contrast to the "Tea Party" minority, data shows that black, low-income, and youth voters want a government that does more, not less.
Today Project Vote released What Happened to Hope and Change? A Poll of 2008 Voters, a new report summarizing the results of a telephone survey of 1,947 Americans who cast ballots in 2008, analyzing their views on the role of government, government spending, and the budget. The poll is unique in that it not only surveys the historic 2008 electorate, but also includes special samples of black voters, low-income voters, and youth voters, and compares these groups both to a national sample and to self-identified "Tea Party" sympathizers.
“We wanted to learn more about the views of the black, youth, and low-income voters who overwhelmingly participated in 2008 election,” said Lorraine C. Minnite, director of research for Project Vote. “These voters represent roughly a third of the electorate, they will play an increasingly important role in American politics, and they fundamentally believe in a government that does more, not less. Yet their voices are largely ignored, and their views are not being represented.”
Instead, the new report says, over the past two years the opinions and values of these populations have been drowned out by the anti-government rhetoric of more affluent, older, and mostly white Americans who have organized under the “Tea Party” banner.“The winning coalition in 2008 included an unprecedented number of young voters, who were more racially diverse than any cohort in the history of American politics and more progressive than any young voters since the 1960s,” said Peter Levine, Director of Research and Director of CIRCLE (Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement). “The new poll from Project Vote provides essential information about these young people’s hopes and beliefs in 2010.”
Project Vote’s analysis reveals that black voters, low-income voters, and young voters have starkly different views about the role of government, federal spending priorities, and the budget deficit than “Tea Party” sympathizers, and in fact are far closer to the views of the 2008 electorate as a whole. Key findings include:
"The Project Vote poll of 2008 voters casts an extraordinarily bright and hopeful light on the future of American electoral politics,” said Frances Fox Piven, Project Vote board member and Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Graduate School and University Center, CUNY. “The composition of the electorate is changing, and the constituencies that support a government role in regulating market forces and protecting people from market vicissitudes are growing. This is big news, and good news for America."
Poll participant Christopher Ferreira, 25, an analyst from Philadelphia, described his view on government responsibility. "The government needs to get more involved across the board on the issues that matter to Americans: creating a good education system, making sure people have health care, and investing in industry and infrastructure," he said. “The government should be the advocate for the American people, not just the corporations."
The poll finds that the policy preferences of these three voting constituencies are far more closely aligned with the views of average Americans—represented by the poll’s national sample—than the minority views of the self-identified Tea Party sympathizers.
“What Project Vote’s poll shows is that the views on government held by progressives represent the majority,” said James Rucker, executive director and co-founder of Color of Change. “We shouldn’t let Tea Party activists convince us that we, and not they, are the minority.”
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