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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The ‘New American Center’ Actually Looks Pretty Right



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Also from today’s Morning Jolt, a new poll that helps explain why we’re seeing Democrats running on issues that basically don’t exist, such as a Republican effort to ban contraception, an effort to ban mothers from divorcing their husbands, or a “war on women”:

That New American Center, Looking Pretty Conservative

Esquire unveiled new polling, identifying, analyzing, and dissecting “the new American center” a few weeks ago. I had a chance to study their article on a couple of long plane rides recently.

I know what you’re thinking: Here’s another group of folks on the left insisting that they’re the new center.

Nope. It turns out the “New Center” Esquire spotlighted is pretty darn conservative, particularly on a lot of those hot-button issues where the overwhelming media narrative is that we’re a bunch of backward Neanderthals who should just die already so that hipster kid who’s still living with his parents can take over.

Esquire’s survey found:

  • 57 percent of folks in “the Center” support ending affirmative action in hiring decisions and college admissions. Only 19 percent oppose it.

  • 54 percent oppose a path to citizenship for those who have come to the country illegally. Only 32 percent support it. What’s all this pressure to get the House to take up the Senate bill?

  • 75 percent support requiring photo ID to cast a vote. Only 15 percent oppose.

  • Even abortion! The survey found 38 percent of “the center” support abortion for any reason . . . but only within the first three months of pregnancy, which would represent a giant step in the pro-life direction from our current laws. Another 29 percent support abortion only in cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother — indicating that two-thirds of “the center” would support abortion laws significantly stricter than they are today. Most media coverage suggests the opposite, obviously. Only 12 percent believe a woman should be able to get an abortion for any reason at any point in her pregnancy.

  • Given only two options, 78 percent said the bigger problem for the United States is people aren’t accountable for their decisions and actions. Only 22 percent said that the bigger problem was “people aren’t compassionate toward one another.”

  • Finally, 77 percent support amending the Constitution requiring the federal government to balance its budget every year. Only 11 percent oppose. This is one of those ideas that sounds great in theory but is challenging in practice. For starters, we would need to make up the $670 billion current deficit in either spending cuts or tax hikes, and the public would loathe either of those options. (Some day, a Democratic president and Democratic Congress would use that constitutional amendment to justify gargantuan tax hikes.) A little deficit spending isn’t such a bad thing, but you have to keep it and your overall debt in proportion to your annual gross domestic product. Having said that, Republicans would be fools if they didn’t loudly embrace such a popular idea.

In light of this, it appears the public’s shift to the left has been vastly overstated. And perhaps we now see why Democrats emphasize birth control and Big Bird and other seemingly silly and frivolous issues, and use them to define Republicans. Democrats dare not get too close to the above issues, or else they’ll get burned.


Tags: Polling , Abortion , Politics , Ideology


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