Think Progress: Nation evenly divided between Right and Left

The progressive blog, Think Progress, posted and interesting article about the ideological slant of the United States. According to the finding, 47 percent of Americans identifying as progressive or liberal and 48 percent as conservative or libertarian and the rest confused. The findings were provided by the progressive think tank, Center for American Progress.

While a slightly larger percentage of Americans are indicating they fall into the category of conservative or libertarian, Think Progress seems to insinuating that there is an ideological shift to progressivism, with regards to policy.

Think Progress-A nation that is evenly split in its political identity is decidedly center-left in its policy orientation.

The are a few problems with this particular "study." Some of the questions indicated ownership of certain issues by liberals and progressives. If you supported those issues it inherently put you in the category of left leaning. Take a gander at the four they tout as supposedly indicating this movement to a more liberal/progressive sense of direction.

  • By a margin of almost nine to one, Americans agree that “government investments in education, infrastructure, and science are necessary to ensure America’s long-term economic growth,” (79 percent agree, 12 percent neutral, 9 percent disagree).
First off, Conservatives and Libertarians both agree on the view that government is a "necessary evil" in the Jeffersonian sense. Government investments in education, science, and infrastructure are acceptable, as long as it does not abridge Constitutionally authority or result in ridiculous spending.

  • More than three in four Americans (76 percent) also agree with the president’s argument that “America’s economic future requires a transformation away from oil, gas, and coal to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.”
Yes it does. This has become a major issue national security issue for the United States. The major factor Conservatives and Libertarians have is the subsidizing of green renewable energy and these industries being presented as the ONLY solution.

A fairer and more scientific line of question should have been presented such as, "Do you think strictly relying on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are the future for our economic development?" "Or should we implement a balanced, but temporary, approach which includes clean coal, clean shale, and off shore drilling as well as green initiatives?"

  • Nearly three in four Americans believe that “government regulations are necessary to keep businesses in check and protect workers and consumers,”

Again, Conservatives and Libertarians are not against government regulation. The role of the government, to a small extent, is to protect the American people from being taken advantage of by big business, illicit business practices, and corporate malfeasance. However it is not the role of government to over regulate in the name of protection an try to achieve control over those particular industries.

  • Nearly two in three Americans (65 percent) agree that “the federal government should guarantee affordable health coverage for every American.”

This question is the furthest reaching in my opinion. Guaranteeing affordable health care does not equate to a lefty progressive stance. If the government provided nationalized health care or mandated that individuals and businesses have to carry health care this would be a decidedly progressive/liberal ideal. Just agreeing to this tenet does not make one left leaning though. The federal government could provide incentives through tax rebates for individuals or businesses to make the burden of obtaining health care easier.

The major line of questioning seemed directed to slant you in the direction of Liberal/Progressive and were quite broad. In the Center's defense though, questions on the economy and national defense were much more narrow.

Here is the link to the quiz, if you interested in taking it. This evidently is representative of the questioning used by the Center to make its determinations. It takes about 5 minutes and we are interested in opinion on its authenticity. If you decide to participate, please feel free to give us your feedback.



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