Here’s How Voters Might Move Tonight

As the next Democratic debate gets underway, we present new data on how voters feel about each of the candidates remaining in the primary, and how those voters might shift depending on the candidates they currently favor and disfavor. While Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren currently leads the pack, we also find that she is the most popular second-choice candidate for voters who currently support other front-runners. Unlike past surveys, which found that supporters of this or that candidate tend to approve of Democrats across the board, we’re now finding significant variation in how supporters of each candidate feel about the other candidates. Although we don’t find clean “lanes” we do find that supporters do see ideological differences among candidates. For instance, unlike some pollsters, we find that the second place choice of Sanders supporters is Warren, not Biden, suggesting that voters do see the two candidates as ideologically similar.

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Voters Overwhelmingly Prefer the Warren and Sanders Tax Plans

Since the rise of Occupy Wall Street, wealth inequality has become a central part of American political discussion. This cycle both Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren have released tax plans that seek to raise revenue and combat inequality by restoring rates on the wealthiest Americans to prior rates. Recent academic work, particularly the Tax Justice Now project by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, has found that stagnating earnings for the middle class combined with an increasingly regressive tax code has contributed to rising inequality in the modern era. These tax plans more or less correspond directly to advice from scholars of inequality and taxation on how to address both this and the issue of falling government revenue.

On behalf of Data for Progress, YouGov Blue fielded a survey of 1,024 US voters on YouGov’s online panel. The survey was weighted to be representative of the population of US voters by age, race/ethnicity, sex, gender, US Census region, and 2016 Presidential vote choice. As part of the survey, we asked voters to consider four plans for what the nation’s income tax rates ought to be for Americans at different income levels. Those tax plans corresponded to proposals by Democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Vice President Joe Biden; and to the income tax rates under Donald Trump’s most recent tax cut bill.

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John Bel Edwards is Favored in Louisiana’s Governor Election

A new Data for Progress survey shows that Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, is favored in the gubernatorial primary election on Saturday, October 12, commanding a strong plurality of the vote (48 percent) over his closest Republican competitors. The Louisiana secretary of state is currently projecting a 45–46 percent turnout, and with strong turnout numbers, Governor Edwards might well clear the 50 percent threshold he needs to avoid a runoff election in November. 

We also find that a wide breadth of modeled likely voters support a broad range of progressive policy positions, including criminal justice reform, Medicaid expansion, a $15 minimum wage, and the government negotiating prescription drug costs.

Data for Progress has been testing a new method for short, ten- to twenty-question surveys that can help progressive organizations achieve low-cost responses in small geographies. The method, called Volunteer-Initiated Text-to-Mobile Survey (VITMS, pronounced “vitamins”) is a standard text-to-web instrument delivered through volunteers. 

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The Role Of News Interest In Candidate Evaluation

In this post, we focus on the role of attention voters report they pay to the news. As we show, news attention is an important predictor of candidate vote choice. Those who report following news most of the time systematically differ from those who do not. As voters’ attention to the news will change over the course of the primary, this has important implications for the decisions candidates will make as the primaries draw near.

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Medicare for All as an LGBTQ Issue

When pundits talk about Medicare for All, they often depict it as strictly a health-care issue. Discussions are limited to whether the policy will make our health-care system more efficient and cost effective, and whether it would bolster economic growth.

But the benefits of Medicare for All extend far beyond reducing health-care costs. Since marginalized groups like the LGBTQ community face some of the greatest difficulties in affording health care, we should view Medicare for All as more than just a health-care plan—we should also see it as a social-justice issue and LGBTQ-justice issue.

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Warren’s “Empowering American Workers and Raising Wages” Plan Rises to Sanders’s Challenge

In August and September of 2019, Data for Progress covered Bernie Sanders’s Workplace Democracy Plan, a sweeping plan that set the bar high for presidential candidates who wish to court worker support and help grow the labor movement. (Check out parts 1 and 2 of the overview.) As our polling shows, the Sanders plan is broadly popular.

But if Sanders threw the gauntlet, then Elizabeth Warren is picking it up. Here we’ll present an overview of what’s different between the plans, what’s the same, and what’s absent in her “Empowering American Workers and Raising Wages” plan. Overall, Warren makes important and detailed additions to Sanders’s plan, but hers is also missing a crucial part: universal just-cause protection.

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Elizabeth Warren’s Environmental Justice Plan is Popular

Today, Elizabeth Warren released her plan to center justice in the fight against climate change. The platform, one of the longest and most thorough drafted in a policy-heavy campaign, builds on decades of organizing by Indigenous nations and communities of color. In the plan, the Senator commits to uphold the Principles of Environmental Justice drafted at the 1991 National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit—a touchstone document in the long fight against environmental racism. The plan would deepen and expand commitments made by the Clinton and Obama administrations to address environmental injustice in the day-to-day work of federal agencies. And, as part of Warren’s broad anti-corruption themed campaign, the plan takes aim at the fossil fuel corporations that have put elected officials on the dole and polluted the climate and our politics by sewing doubt about the scientific truth of global warming. The plan also shows the Senator’s commitment to advancing justice for working families and communities of color—a key pillar of a Green New Deal.

The Warren plan signals a broader shift within the Democratic Party towards a new consensus wherein justice is considered a core tenet of climate and environmental policy. Centrist politicians, think tanks and green groups have, for far too long, pushed an ideology of carbon supremacy—the notion that pollution and emissions should be isolated from broader questions of jobs, infrastructure, civil rights, Indigenous rights and justice. In February, the Washington Post editorial board said that serious policymakers should not “muddle” decarbonization with social programs that “divert money and attention from the primary mission.” And in a widely circulated 11,000-word “Open Letter to Green New Dealers,” Jerry Taylor, the President of the Reaganite Niskanen Center, was incredulous. “The climate is too important to be held hostage to political commitments,” he wrote. To test these rote hypotheses, Data for Progress polled key pieces of the Warren campaign’s environmental justice plan. As it turns out, voters support justice-oriented climate action.t

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A Plurality of Registered Voters Support Forgiving Medical Debt

In mid-September, Bernie Sanders released a proposal that would eliminate the $81 billion of outstanding medical debt, as well as provide protections for people with medical debt going forward. 

One in six Americans has past-due medical debt according to a recent analysis in Health Affairs, making medical debt the most common type of debt in collections. This debt tends to be concentrated among younger people, with 11% of all debt held by 27-year-olds (possibly because this is the year after young adults are removed from their parents' health insurance). This problem has been especially salient recently after the New York Times reported that private equity firms have spent $28 million in dark money to defeat legislation that would stop price-gouging in the ER, and Kaiser Health News published a stunning expose of the debt collection tactics of the University of Virginia Health System. In the past six years, the health system “filed 36,000 lawsuits against patients seeking a total of more than $106 million, seizing wages and bank accounts, putting liens on property and homes and forcing families into bankruptcy.” 

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Support for Impeachment is Rising

Before Democrats began impeachment proceedings last week, the conventional wisdom among pundits was that it would harm the re-election prospects of swing seat Democrats who won elections in Districts Trump won. Our latest polling suggests the conventional wisdom is wrong. Last week, using polling from before the Ukraine scandal, we made the case that the evidence of the impact of an impeachment inquiry in either direction was murky. Here, we present evidence suggesting that voters are supportive of an impeachment inquiry given the facts of Ukraine and that opposing an inquiry is unlikely to bolster a Democratic candidate’s re-election prospects. Notably, we present evidence that a majority of voters now support an impeachment inquiry, even when given counter-arguments against an inquiry. 

On behalf of Data for Progress, YouGov Blue fielded a national survey from 9/27/19-9/30/19 on a representative sample of 1,009 US voters. The sample was weighted to be representative of the population of US voters by age, race/ethnicity, sex, education, US Census region, and 2016 Presidential vote choice. On that survey, YouGov Blue included items pertaining to a possible impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump. Here, we report on those findings. Democrats are fully onboard with impeachment. Independents are statistically split. Perhaps surprisingly, just over one in ten Republicans supports the impeachment inquiry.

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AOC & the Progressive Consensus on Housing

On Wednesday, Congresswoman and progressive vanguard Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released her “A Place to Prosper Act,” a bold plan to restructure the U.S. housing system.

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