Project Vote’s new poll, which reveals the “rising electorate” from 2008 has starkly different views about the role of government than Tea Partiers, has inspired some discussion on the mood of voters before the election in November. “What Happened to Hope and Change,” we ask, and several bloggers, columnists, and reporters (sometimes with a combination of relief and frustration) attempt to answer.
“Lorraine C. Minnite, the author of the study, argues that the poll shows that the media is paying too much attention to the concerns of the mostly white and better-off Tea Party,” reported Linda Scott at PBS News Hour.
The poll’s finding that Tea Partiers only make up 29 percent of 2008 voters, compared to the 32 percent of black, young, and low-income voters, who turned out in droves in 2008 was a “refreshing corrective,” wrote The Nation’s Christopher Hayes.
“We've all spent so much time dwelling on the slights and accusations of the Fox News crowd, there's been shockingly little attention paid to the views, frustrations and convictions of what we might call the forgotten electorate, otherwise known as Obama's base," he wrote.
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 voted in 2008, analyzing their views on the role of the government, government spending, and the budget. This unique poll not only surveys the historic 2008 electorate, but also includes special samples of black, low-income, 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 doesmore, not less. Yet their voices are largely ignored, and their views are not being represented.”
The passage of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant law has thrown the issue of immigration and race into the limelight. With many in Arizona deeply concerned about the specter of racial profiling that SB1070 brings with it, the law has brought attention to the frustration many feel at the federal government’s inaction on immigration reform.
It’s this very frustration that a recent poll by the Service Employees International Union, National Council of La Raza, Latino Decisions and Grove Insight tap into, through a poll conducted across Latino and non-Latino voters in Arizona about SB1070 and it’s electoral implications.
The poll conducted across 500 non-Latino voters reveal that while 60% favor SB1070, 73% favor a smart, workable, comprehensive, federal solution to immigration reform. Poll results reveal a vast majority of voters frustrated with the failure to take comprehensive action on immigration, and in the absence of responsible action on the part of Congress and the White House, willing to lend support to an irresponsible law that unfairly targets minorities.
Amongst Latino voters, an overwhelming 82% oppose SB1070, spanning all generations, from first generation Latinos to fourth generation Latino-Americans who believe it will lead to racial profiling. After the passage of the law, immigration has become the most important issue for Latino voters, rising from 36% before the law passed to 59% after. Looking towards the November elections, the poll found that Latino voters are extremely dissatisfied with both parties-
The law, which is seen as a personal attack against all Latinos, has ignited Arizona Latino voters’ frustration…and galvanized them to move away from candidates – particularly Republicans – who play politics with the issue. Leadership on the issue is essential for Democrats if they want to nurture the support they gained from Latinos in 2008. And leadership is crucial for Republicans if they want to address and move the issue off the table so they can start repairing their relationship with this critical electorate.
Both this poll, and a number of other polls show that a majority of Americans, across ethnic and party lines, believe that it is important for government to address immigration before the elections in November 2010. A CBS/New York Times poll 57% of Americans who believe immigration law should be the domain of the federal government and 64% who were in support of legal status for undocumented people already in the country. However, the same poll also showed 51% support of Arizona’s law and 9% who felt that it “doesn’t go far enough”.
An interesting blog post by Imagine 2050 compares the results of current immigration polls to surveys of public opinion on civil rights and racial desegregation issues conducted 50 years ago. Out to prove that the “tyranny of the majority” is a continuing narrative of American history, it says -
A half century ago, polls found strikingly similar results with regard to civil rights. In spite of gaining the approval of some 55% of Americans in the spring of 1954, five years later a majority believed that the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education “caused a lot more trouble than it was worth.” During the 1960s a Gallup Poll found most Americans gradually came to support “racial equality in public places” but a consistent plurality wanted to take a “go slow” approach to racial change. In the South, not surprisingly, Gallup found that 80% of those polled in 1964 disapproved of civil rights legislation.
While opinion polls are crucial to understanding how people in different areas are responding to the issue, it is important not to lose sight of the human aspect of this debate, and the fact that millions of people are dealing with the implications of a broken system on a daily basis. Inspired by a true story, and no doubt representative of the true stories of many people in the United States, an award-winning film Entre Nos is playing in theaters now. It tells the story of Mariana, a single mother who fights against all odds to fend for herself and her children after her husband leaves her, undocumented, poor and alone in an unfamiliar city, speaking a language she barely knows. Watch co-director and actress Paola Mendoza talk about the film as a tribute to her mother who gave up everything to ensure the American dream for her children.
Take away: Opinion on this question has changed dramatically from just a week ago. You don't have to be really sick to think this is good news, but it couldn't hoit.
By a 57%-to-38% margin, most Americans say they think a health care reform bill will pass over the next year. Democrats (71%) are the most likely to say they expect a bill to pass, and they are joined in this view by a somewhat smaller majority (56%) of independents. Republicans express mixed views: 47% say they think a bill will pass over the next year, 50% think it will not.
Opinion on this question has changed dramatically from just a week ago. The previous weekly News Interest Index -- conducted Oct. 9-12 -- found about as many saying they expected a bill to pass (45%) as saying they did not think a bill would pass (46%). In the current survey, the percentage expecting passage of a health care reform bill is up 12 points; the change has been particularly pronounced among Republicans (up 19 points) and Democrats (15 points), while there has been a smaller, nine-point increase in the proportion of independents saying they think a health care reform bill will pass over the next year.