The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Erikka Knuti (202) 756-4135
Jessica Levin
(202) 772-8162

America the Progressive: Joint Report From Media Matters and Campaign for America's Future Shows America Is a Center-Left Nation


Today, Media Matters for America and Campaign for America's Future released a
special report, "A Center-Left Nation,"
rebutting the myth that America
is a "center-right" country. Using the latest public opinion data
from nonpartisan sources, the report shows that much of the country holds progressive
positions on a broad range of issues and demographic trends indicate it is
likely to remain that way.

"The media have long portrayed America
as a 'center-right' country, even after President Obama's
said Eric Burns,
president of Media Matters for America.
"But independent polling shows that, on
issue after issue, America
is actually progressive and is growing more progressive every day. This report
should serve as a wake-up call to the Beltway press -- especially in light of
yesterday's Supreme Court nomination -- that the idea that we live in a
center-right country is fundamentally false."

Bob Borosage, co-director of Campaign for America's Future, said that
the report "should give people the
courage to push ahead. The danger is not in going too far too fast, or
overreaching; it is in not doing enough. The people are hungry for progressive
change. Their leaders need to take them where they want to go."


"A Center-Left Nation"
relied primarily on three data sources known for their methodological rigor and
nonpartisan analysis: the biennial National Election Studies, the Pew Research
Center, and Gallup. The report shows that, across a broad
range of issues, America
is a progressive country.

  • The
    role of government:
    Sixty-six percent of people -- a
    9-percent increase since 2004 -- believe "there are more things
    government should be doing," compared with 32 percent who believe
    "less government the better." Sixty-two percent of people -- a
    21-percent increase since 2004 -- believe "government has become
    bigger because the problems we face have become bigger," compared
    with 37 percent who believe government has gotten bigger because "it
    has gotten involved in things people should do for themselves."
  • Business:
    Five times as many people (78 percent vs. 15 percent)
    believe "[t]oo much power is concentrated in the hands of a few
    large companies" as opposed to those who believe that the largest
    companies "do not have too much power." Additionally, 68
    percent of Americans would like to see major corporations have less
    influence in the country.
  • Health
    Fifty-four percent of Americans think it is the
    responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have
    health care coverage; 46 percent support the implementation of a
    government insurance plan, compared with 28 percent who favor private
    insurance plans.
  • Taxes:
    Sixty-seven percent of Americans believe corporations
    pay too little in federal taxes and 60 percent believe high-income people
    pay too little. Unsurprisingly, a March Pew poll found that 61 percent of
    the public supported Obama's proposal to raise taxes on those making
    more than $200,000 per year.
  • The
    culture war:
    Sixty-one percent of Americans support
    "government funding for research" on embryonic stem cells; 77
    percent support allowing gays to serve in the military; 61 percent support
    same-sex marriage or civil unions.

The report also shows that groups making up the progressive coalition
are on the rise while conservatives are declining in number:

  • Young
    People under 30 chose Barack Obama for president
    by a 34-point margin over Sen. John McCain (66 percent vs. 32 percent).
    Every year, an additional 4.5 million members of the so-called Millennial
    Generation will become eligible to vote.
  • Hispanics:
    Hispanics are the fastest-growing major demographic
    group. It is estimated Hispanics will increase from 15.3 percent of the
    population to 39 percent by 2050. According to the Pew Hispanic Survey, 65
    percent of registered Hispanic voters indentified with or leaned toward
    the Democratic Party.
  • African-Americans:
    The Obama election excited the African-American
    community, long a rock of progressive support, as never before. The
    turnout among African-Americans increased by 4.9 percentage points, from
    60.3 percent in 2004 to 65.2 percent in 2008, nearly matching the white
    rate of 66.1 percent.
  • Older
    Senior citizens 65 and older represent only 16
    percent of eligible voters. McCain won among senior citizens (53 percent
    to 45 percent), but the next age group down, those between 50 and 64,
    split almost down the middle (Obama, 50 percent; McCain, 49 percent).
  • Women:
    Women as a whole tend to lean Democratic, and Obama
    outscored McCain among women 56 percent to 43 percent (compared with 49
    percent to 48 percent among men). But a more notable story was that of
    unmarried women, who are becoming key to the emerging American electorate.
    They chose Obama 70 percent to 29 percent, a stunning 41-point margin.
  • Geography:
    More than half of the country (54 percent) now lives in
    large metropolitan areas, defined as places with populations over a
    million people. Obama won these 51 regions by a 17-point margin (58
    percent to 41 percent). Another 20 percent of the population lives in
    medium-sized metropolitan areas with 250,000 to 1 million people. Obama
    carried these regions by 4 points.

To read
the full report, please visit:

To view
the report as a PDF, please visit:

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.