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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and DNC Chair Tom Perez walk past each other as Sen. Sanders takes to the stage to speak during their 'Come Together and Fight Back' tour at the James L Knight Center on April 19, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As Tensions Simmer, Poll Shows Majority of Democrats Want Bold Leftward Shift

The survey suggests Democratic voters want to ditch the current party leadership and embrace the grassroots

Jake Johnson

Amid an ongoing battle within the Democratic National Committee between its progressive wing and the more "centrist" establishment, a Harvard-Harris poll (pdf) published Tuesday found that a majority of Democrats think their party should be embracing grassroots movements, ditching its current leadership, and moving to the left.

"Those results, taken together, appear to bolster the left's broad critique of the Democratic Party."
—Andrew Joyce, Mic

The survey found that 52 percent of registered Democratic voters want "movements within the Democratic Party to take it even further to the left and oppose the current Democratic leaders."

Desire for a leftward move was strongest among young Democrats, who overwhelmingly backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 2016 Democratic primary.

The Harvard-Harris poll found that 69 percent of Democratic voters between the ages of 18 and 34 believe the party should embrace the leftward shift pushed by grassroots movements urging Democrats to back Medicare for All, free public college tuition, a $15 minimum wage, and a bevy of other progressive goals.

"Those results, taken together, appear to bolster the left's broad critique of the Democratic Party, which accuses the party of focusing too much on feuding with Trump and not enough on building a coherent vision for the left," concluded Mic's Andrew Joyce.

Some prominent Democrats have in recent weeks indicated that they agree with this critique, and with the majority of their voters.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) angered centrist Democrats back in August when she told the audience of a Netroots Nation conference in Atlanta, Georgia that "the Democratic Party isn't going back to the days of welfare reform and the crime bill."

"We're not going back to the days when a Democrat who wanted to run for a seat in Washington first had to grovel on Wall Street," Warren added.

Record support among congressional Democrats for Medicare for All and a $15 federal minimum wage also indicates that Democrats are beginning to shift left under pressure from the grassroots.

Consistent with previous surveys, the new Harvard-Harris poll also found that Sanders is far and away the most popular politician in the country, while President Donald Trump and the congressional leadership of both parties remain broadly unpopular.


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