Liberal Ideas Are Not As Popular As You Think

A new PBS/Marist poll is out, and it shows that Americans are generally in love with liberal ideas. Hooray!

But don’t get too excited yet. Americans say they like lots of things when they’re asked out of the blue, but in the real world the other side gets to weigh in before opinions become solidified. Because of this, there’s a rule of thumb that a political proposition doesn’t truly have majority support until it polls at about two-thirds or better. This is a pretty good rule of thumb, and with that in mind here are the results of the poll:

Background checks for gun owners is a no-brainer. An optional version of Medicare for All is a strong contender, and government control of prescription drug prices is a close call, but probably pretty popular.

And that’s it. There are a few more ideas on the list that might be good campaign fodder depending on how they’re presented, but they aren’t likely to be hugely popular selling points. As for the rest, just forget it. Any candidate who truly believes in them should feel free to say so, but no one should fool themselves into thinking that big majorities support them.

At the bottom of the list, by the way, are five items that poll at levels less than about one-third. In real life, the number of people who really, seriously support them is probably on the order of 10-15 percent. They are total losers, period.

BY THE WAY: These are all liberal ideas. Why didn’t Marist poll any conservative ideas?

We've never been very good at being conservative.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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