Publications / Political Memo

America’s Resilient Center and the Road to 2020 – Results from a New National Survey

By and / 11.14.2018

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) today released a national opinion survey that highlights the surprising resilience of America’s pragmatic political center two years into Donald Trump’s deeply polarizing presidency. The poll reinforces a key takeaway from the 2018 midterm elections: Suburban voters – especially women – are repelled by the president’s racial and cultural demagoguery and are moving away from a Trump-dominated GOP.

“Our poll suggests that Donald Trump’s election in 2016 is more likely to be an aberration than any permanent shift in America’s political course,” said Anne Kim, PPI Director of Social and Domestic Policy and PPI President Will Marshall. “The defection of suburban voters creates a political landscape that favors Democrats in 2020 – if they stick to the ‘big tent’ approach that proved so effective in the midterm.”

The poll conducted by Pete Brodnitz at Expedition Strategies contains findings about what’s top of mind for voters, their ideological outlook and leanings, and their views on health care, trade, growth and inequality, the role of government, monopoly and competition, and other contentious issues.

“The agenda that could help Democrats sustain a governing majority, our poll suggests, is one that is progressive yet pragmatic—one that’s optimistic, aspirational and respects Americans’ beliefs in individual initiative and self-determination; one that broadens Americans’ opportunities for success in the private sector and strengthens the nation’s global economic role; one that demands more from business but doesn’t cross the line into stifling growth; and one that adopts a practical approach to big challenges such as immigration reform and climate change,” write Kim and Marshall.

“For Democrats to maintain and expand this near-majority advantage, they must craft a broadly appealing agenda that brings or keeps independents and less committed partisans—the majority of whom call themselves ‘moderate’—under the tent.”

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