Friday, November 29, 2019


There's new polling from The New York Times today, and it actually contains good news for progressives:
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to tax the assets of America’s wealthiest individuals continues to draw broad support from voters, across party, gender and educational lines. Only one slice of the electorate opposes it staunchly: Republican men with college degrees....

Overall, 63% of respondents said they support the wealth tax, including 55% of independents and 57% of Republicans. (Democratic support is 77%.)

And Medicare for All also gets high marks, though there's more of a partisan skew: Only 28% of Republicans back it, but there's support from 64% of independents and 81% of Republicans.

So why are Elizabeth Warren's poll numbers plummeting?

There are several possible explanations. Perhaps voters support for Medicare for All, but only if there's the option of keeping private insurance. Perhaps they don't like Warren's funding mechanism.

Or perhaps many of her ex-supporters still like her and her plans, but they assume they have to put away childish things, close their eyes and think of Bugtussle -- in other words, they have to vote the way they assume a grizzled retiree in a ball cap sitting in a rural diner will want to vote.

This Times poll is done in conjunction with SurveyMonkey, not with Siena College, the Times's partner on the paper's last round of polling -- the one that continues to be cited by pundits who have "Democrats are doomed" confirmation bias.

Although the polls don't ask the same questions and it's possible that broad support for Warren's best-known positions doesn't translate to support for her candidacy, it also seems reasonable to assume that the Times's polling partners have arrived at very different, not particularly compatible results. It would be nice if that were noted in the paper's write-up of the new poll. (We are told in the current story that less educated voters are less likely to regard Warren as the strongest candidate on the economy, although she's at or near the top with every group apart from those who never attended college.)

In a better world, poll numbers like these would put pressure on moderates to declare that they're going to soak the rich too. Maybe Biden, Buttigieg, and Bloomberg wouldn't endorse big structural changes like the ones Warren and Bernie Sanders are proposing, but they'd be jacking up their proposed tax rates for the 1%.

But we don't live in that world. This poll won't generate any enduring narratives. Only anti-progressive polls do that.

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