The GOP loves to say that the US is a “center-right nation.” This point was especially touted after the 2008 presidential election. Despite the American public electing Barack Obama, considered by the right to be the “most left-wing president” ever, Republicans still tried to say the country leaned slightly in their direction.
The point they were trying to argue is that most Americans don’t tend to fall in the extreme categories of either political party, but instead land somewhere just a little to the right of the middle. They believe the American population as a whole is moderately conservative when it comes to financial, social, and environmental issues.
While where Obama actually falls on the political spectrum is up for debate, what isn’t is that the American people are leaning more to the left, no matter how hard the Republicans fight it.
Compiling “polling data from various reputable American polling organizations,” Salon is able to show that the majority of the US tend to fall “center-left” in most political categories.
On financial issues, their findings include:
- 59 percent believe US wealth “should be more evenly distributed” among a larger percentage of the people
- 69 percent oppose any cuts to Social Security or Medicare
- Between 60 and 80 percent support increasing the taxes on the wealthy
- 71 percent support increasing the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour
- 54 percent support labor Unions
On cultural issues:
- 59 percent of Americans support gay marriage
- 54 percent support keeping abortion “legal in most/all cases”
- 62 percent support the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help close the gender pay gap
- 58 percent support legalizing marijuana
- 81 percent support universal background checks for all gun purchases, with even 55.4 percent of gun sellers supporting them
On environmental issues, Salon finds that “73 percent of Americans believe in climate change and 52 percent of Americans say that it will be a ‘very serious’ problem if we don’t implement policies to reduce it.” The majority of Americans also support stronger Environmental Protection Agency air regulations (66 percent), stronger carbon-emissions regulations (72 percent), and stronger regulations on motor vehicle emissions (60 percent).
Basically, the “average American” has political views that line up “almost exactly” with the center-left, “similar to what many European social democratic parties have run on.”
The reason, the piece says, that so many Republicans still win elections is because people often vote “based upon their perception of the parties … or other non-policy criteria.” This tendency to vote based upon party over policy plays right into the hands of the Republican political strategy, as they push ideas that “are supported by only a tiny minority of the total population.”
A quick look at approval rating of this Congress, which is currently sitting at around 13 percent, proves that politicians, especially the GOP, don’t support the wants of the people who elected them. Come November, hopefully Americans will forget their party affiliations and vote for those candidates who will actually work to help achieve the goals the “average American” wants and needs.