Campaign

Washington Post Finds Broad Public Support for Bernie’s Agenda

A new analysis in the Washington Post reviews the polling data and comes to this conclusion: “Bernie Sanders says Americans back his agenda — and he’s mostly right.”

The Post’s Philip Bump explains:

“We pulled the key components of his announcement speech and looked at the most recent polling on each to see just how much support Sanders’s proposals had. It doesn’t take very long before we get mired in the ways polling can fail to capture the nuance of the issue but, spoiler alert: Sanders was generally right.”

The Post did a good job in coming to that conclusion, by and large. It did miss a couple of polls which demonstrate that Americans are even more supportive of Bernie’s position. For example, it cites a December 2014 poll which showed that 50 percent of Americans oppose a single-payer medical plan (“Medicare for All”), and approximately 45 percent supported it, and concludes that Americans do not agree with Bernie on this issue.

January 2015 poll, however, found the opposite. In that study, over 50 percent of Americans supported Medicare for All. That’s a remarkable finding, since no national politician had advocated the idea for many years until Bernie declared his candidacy for president.

The Post was correct when it noted that there is no “good, recent polling data” on Bernie’s proposal to break up the big banks. But it should be noted that polling in 2014 showed that 80% of voters in Senate battleground states felt politicians do too much to support Wall Street and not enough to support middle class Americans; that 79% of Americans view Wall Street unfavorably; and that 60% of likely voters (in that year’s elections) favor stricter federal regulations on banks and other financial institutions, with 35% strongly favoring them.

These are minor criticisms, however. The Washington Post is to be commended. It took an objective, thorough look at public opinion — and concluded that Americans largely support Bernie’s agenda.