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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Netroots Opinion: “Run, Sarah, Run” And Other Findings

This weekend the annual gathering of the progressive cyber-tribes, Netroots Nation, convened in Las Vegas, and for the occasion, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted a straw poll of attendees on various topics.
Since this is probably the single largest gathering of intensely progressive political activists in the country (91% of them self-identify as either “liberal” or “progressive,” with 9% as “moderates”), the results of the straw poll are pretty interesting, and don’t necessarily conform to the conventional wisdom.
For one thing, despite all the talk of progressive unhappiness with Barack Obama and his record, the president receives an 84% approval rating from this group. Yes, the percentage “strongly approving” (32%) is lower than it would have been at the beginning of the Obama presidency, but all in all, there are no signs of some imminent progressive revolt against his leadership.
Second, the poll shows a stable overall level of enthusiasm about voting in the upcoming midterm elections, as compared to the last midterm in 2006 (which was, as you might recall, a very uptempo election year for progressives). 27% of respondents say they are more enthusiastic now than in 2006 to march to the polls; 33% are less enthusiastic; 40% report no change in their level of enthusiasm. The numbers might have been different if 2008 had been the benchmark, but it’s never really right to compare presidential and midterm elections, and again, 2006 was a pretty big deal on its own.
Third, GQRR asked these hyper-political folk whom they’d like to see Republicans nominate for president in 2012. It was not even remotely close: Sarah Palin led the field of desired opponents at 48%, trailed by Ron Paul at 11%; Rick Santorum at 10%; Mitt Romney at 9%; and Newt Gingrich at 8%. Remember this next time you hear a conservative say that progressives dislike Palin because they fear her political power. Looks like they’d love the chance to take her on.
The poll also discusses issue priorities (jobs, overwhelmingly), midterm races of particular interest (Senate races in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Kentucky; House races involving Republican Michelle Bachman and Democrat Tom Perriello); and bipartisanship (been there, done that). Check it out before you nod your head at the next media or blogger characterization of progressive opinion.

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