Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Democracy Corps, in conjunction with Revolution Messaging, conducted a straw poll of progressive activists, journalists, and bloggers at the Netroots Nation conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the third year the straw poll has been conducted at the conference, the first time participants have been able to take the poll via text message, and the largest straw poll conducted yet at the conference, with over 300 people participating.
With the midterm elections just over three months away, the poll asked progressives to identify what race they considered their priority this November. The emphasis fell heavily on winning some of the crucial battleground Senate races. Of the five races provided, the top priority was given to the hometown race between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle in Nevada, at 31 percent. However, the Pennsylvania race between Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey came in a close second at 25 percent, and the matchup in Kentucky between Jack Conway and Rand Paul came in third at 21 percent. Stan Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, reacted to the results: “Progressives are showing a clear desire to protect these critical Senate seats, especially when the alternatives are extreme right-wing ideologues pushing the agenda of the Tea Party.” Some other key findings include:
- These participants want to see the Obama administration and Congress make one issue their top priority: jobs. An overwhelming 74 percent think that improving the employment market should be the principal focus for the President and Congress. The next most important priority – finishing the conflict in Afghanistan – lags at 8 percent.
- This preference seems to be driven largely by concern about the state of the economy. A majority – 53 percent – believe that the economy has moved into a serious long-term decline, versus just 35 percent who believe that the economy will correct itself before too long.
- These respondents see a strong role for government to play in achieving economic recovery. When thinking about job creation, in a choice between strong government investment or cutting government spending and taxes, they prefer government investment 93 percent – 4 percent. They also want to see the remainder of the economic stimulus package money spent (91 percent) rather than have it cancelled to help pay down the budget deficit (8 percent).
- President Obama receives high marks from the progressive community. His approval rating stands at a robust 84 percent, with only 16 percent expressing disapproval. Progressives also clearly want Sarah Palin to be his opponent in the 2012 presidential election, with 48 percent picking her. Ron Paul comes in a distant second at just 11 percent.
- Health care reform is predominantly viewed as the top accomplishment for President Obama since taking office last January. Nearly seven out of ten participants (69 percent) believe it is the defining achievement of his presidency thus far.