The budget debate could provide progressives with an opportunity to win back the support of a constituency key to regaining power in 2012 – the unmarried women, people of color and youth who make up the Rising American Electorate (RAE) – according to a just-released national survey.
Even though Democrats (traditionally more progressive) start in a hole on the budget –voters trust the Republicans more on handling the economy and jobs and employment (by 5 points) and on making the right choices on deciding how to reduce the federal budget deficit (by 15 points) — the more Americans hear about Republican plans, the less they like them.
That’s especially true among the RAE voters who now comprise the majority (53 percent) of the voting age population. During the survey conducted last week of more than a 1000 voters by Greenburg Quinlan Rosner Research for Democracy Corps, after hearing about the specific cuts being proposed and arguments on both sides of the debate, unmarried women shifted away from the budget cuts by 30 percentage points and the RAE by 27 points.
Unmarried women and the rest of the RAE drove progressive victories in 2006 and 2008, but under-performed in 2010. Democrats will not be able to reclaim the country without recapturing the support of this core and growing constituency. The RAE is the fastest growing large demographic group in the nation and is responsible for 95 percent of the country’s population growth over the last two years. Tracking their support levels on key issues like the budget over the next two years will help gauge the progress Democrats are making in their efforts to regain support and power. According to the Democracy Corps survey findings, the budget debate can potentially re-engage these voters and recommit them to their progressive political ideals if action on the budget is linked to fixing what’s wrong with the economy and helping working families.