America -- Gradually Moving Left

(Cross-posted from Think it Through)

The Republican message guru of the 80's, and into the 90's, Arthur Finkelstein of New York, built a successful career on one simple idea. If his candidate was trailing in the polls, he would call the opponent a liberal.   His formula had two main advantages: simplicity and portability: FILL IN YOUR OPPONENT'S NAME HERE is too liberal for FILL IN YOUR STATE HERE. With this advice, he helped Republicans win many elections, because the liberal label meant favoring big government and higher taxes, being soft on crime, and social permissiveness.

Today you see these ads far less often.  Even though the opinion polls have consistently shown almost no increase in the number of Americans who describe themselves as politically "liberal," I believe there is solid evidence that the liberal bashing has lost its punch because over the last two decades Americans have gradually become more liberal.  

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Launching Bi-weekly Public Opinion Roundup

As President Barack Obama was assuming office in January, 93% of Americans said that restoring public trust in government should be a top priority (63%) or an important but lower priority (30%) for the new President. Take it as an absolute value, this is a stunningly high percentage; put it in comparison with the other seventeen (widely discussed) issues tested in an AP-Gfk survey, and you will find out that only improving the economy, creating more jobs, making the government more efficient and increasing the country’s independence scored higher.

It’s good to be reminded that people crave trust in government — despite well coordinated efforts that tell a different story. I won’t debate here the relationship of the individual to the “state” (an Aristotelian term in loan) but, in my bi-weekly visits to The Opportunity Agenda blog, I will translate the latest findings on public attitudes on public policy issues, voting patterns and trends, elections and elected officials.

Without an ideological lens, I will help understand Americans’ opinions on issues of public interest such as health care, immigration, the economy, and human rights; and explore how these opinions relate to people’s experience of a deeply held American value: the promise of opportunity. People’s outlook to the President's economic stimulus package can tell a true story about their perception of security,equality, mobility, voice, redemption, or community which make up opportunity, as explained in our newly released report The State of Opportunity in America.

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Emerging Research on Health Care as a Human Right: They Get It

And by "they", we mean the very audiences we need in order to change the conversation about health in this country:  politically active moderates and liberals.  Recent focus groups with these audiences show an apparently growing comfort with not only declaring health as a human right, but also in recognizing what that would mean to health care reform.

These groups build on our national poll from 2007 showing that 72% of the general population believe that health is a human right.  Using the demographic data provided by the poll, our researchers at Belden Russonello & Stewart honed in on persuadable audiences to determine their receptivity to a number of human rights messages. 

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Wider still and wider: Tuzla-gate hits the front pages

Ah, Google News: such a thing of beauty when you're tracking a story spreading like wildfire.

CNN: Clinton says she 'misspoke' about sniper fire

First Read: Clinton 'Misspoke'

CBS News: Starting Gate: Sniper Fire

ABC News: Footage Questions Senator's Account of 1996 Trip to Bosnia

Now, take a wild guess at just what's all over the morning shows? Oh no.

And the print media? Oh lord, yes, there's more >>>

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Tuzla-gate and Hillary's honesty problem

The facts of what is already being called Tuzla-gate are well known and quickly described; JedReport on Daily Kos has a satisfyingly comprehensive roundup of the issues. Briefly, Hillary Clinton made claims, as part of her larger argument to competence and experience, to have come under hostile fire at Tuzla airport in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the aftermath of that country's civil war; these claims are false as made, as even the Clinton campaign has now admitted.

The story of Tuzla-gate, meanwhile, is spreading over the media like an inkblot. This is no mere campaign gaffe; it's potentially a game-changer of the first magnitude.

Why so? Over the fold >>>

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