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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems Should Note Groups Public Wants to Help

Gallup has a freebie that merits a gander from Democratic strategists and candidates. The poll, conducted 3/26-29, addresses “Americans’ perceptions about the relative political influence of various groups in the United States.” Gallup reporter Jeffrey Jones kicks off his wrap-up analysis this way:

Of the 14 groups tested in the poll, military veterans are thought to be the most in need of increased government attention. On the other hand, the public is most likely to believe political leaders pay too much attention to big corporations and Hollywood movie executives.

What’s a little fishy here is that one wonders what percentage of Americans can even name three Hollywood executives, or two for that matter. Maybe respondents conflated execs with actors. If there’s a moral here for political strategists, maybe it’s accept their dough graciously, but don’t let Hollywood execs do your campaigning.
But Dems should take very seriously how the public views treatment of military vets. As Jones explains:

Eighty-one percent of Americans say government leaders pay too little attention to the needs of military veterans…The poll was conducted shortly after news reports about poor conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center focused attention on the plight of wounded soldiers returning from Iraq. This news may have helped to push veterans past the poor (77%), small-business owners (68%), and senior citizens (66%) as the group most widely viewed as lacking in government attentiveness.

This is a clear advantage for Dems, given the shoddy treatment vets have received under Bush and at the hands of Republican office-holders in general. Those who have voted in any way to cut or restrict veterans’ benefits should be forced to explain their votes again and again.
A look at the five largest numbers in the survey may be more instructive. Following the 81 percent who believe vets are most in need of more government attention: 77 percent cite the poor as receiving too little attention; 76 percent say big corporations get too much attention; 74 percent say Hollywood execs get too much attention; and 68 percent say small business owners get too little attention.
In terms of political ramifications, the respondents were adults, not registered or likely voters. And it’s hard to imagine that many voters will reason, “I’m not going to vote for so-and-so because he/she gives too much attention to Hollywood execs,” regardless of policies, character and other priorities. But the other percentages relate to needed policy reforms supported by Dems, not Republicans — and are too large to ignore.