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Are We Really a “Center-Right Country?” Jon Huntsman Says “Yes.” The American People Say “No.”

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Watching the Talking Head Shows this morning, I saw Jon Huntsman asserting, as if it was a clear factual statement, that we live in a “center-right country.” Unsurprisingly, the corporate media (in this case Jake Tapper) didn’t challenge Huntsman, but I will. First, let’s look at some national polling on the key issues, and where, IMHO (feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section), that puts the American people on the political spectrum IN BOLD AND ALL CAPS.

1. Abortion: 54% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in “all cases” or “most cases.” Only 15% believe that abortion should be illegal “in all cases.”  CENTER-LEFT

2. Energy: By a 69%-26% margin, Americans favor “Stricter regulations on oil drilling.” By a 65%-28% margin, Americans favor “Limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.” By a 78%-17%, Americans favor “Requirements that utilities produce more energy from wind, solar or other renewable sources.” By a 64%-33% margin, Americans oppose “building more nuclear power plants at this time.”  CENTER-LEFT (although really, this shouldn’t be a “left-right” issue at all)

3. Environment: By a 71%-28% margin, Americans want the EPA to continue “spending any money to enforce regulations on greenhouse gases and other environmental issues.” By a 71%-26% margin, Americans “think the federal government should…regulate the release of greenhouse gases from sources like power plants, cars and factories in an effort to reduce global warming.” By a 55%-39% margin, Americans favor giving priority to environmental protection, “even at the risk of limiting the amount of energy supplies — such as oil, gas and coal — which the United States produces.” CENTER-LEFT (again, this shouldn’t be a “left-right” issue at all, but a matter of science and the environmental health of the planet we all share)

4. Food:By a 75%-21% margin, Americans would favor “a law that would increase government regulation of food safety.” CENTER-LEFT

5. Guns:By a 62%-35% margin, Americans believe “the federal government [should] be allowed to ban the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons, except for use by the military or police.” By a 51%-7% margin, Americans believe “gun control laws in this country should be more strict than they are now” (39% say they’re “about right” as they currently are). CENTER-LEFT

6. Health Policy: 53% of Americans believe Congress should either expand health care reform (33%) or “keep as is” (20%). Only 21% say “repeal and replace.” By a 68%-21% margin, Americans say “the benefits from Medicare are worth the cost of the program for taxpayers.” By a 54%-38% margin, Americans think it would be a “bad idea” to “overhaul Medicaid so that more of the responsibility for providing health care for low income people would shift from the federal government to the states.” CENTER-LEFT

7. Immigration: By a 54%-42% margin, Americans say they’d support a bill “that would allow illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal resident status if they join the military or go to college.” By a 62%-35% margin, Americans do not believe that the 14t amendment (“that any person born in the United States or its territories is automatically considered a U.S. citizen”) should be revised. By a 54%-44% margin, Americans say they oppose legislation “to deny automatic citizenship to children born in the U.S. whose parents are illegal immigrants.” However, by a 55%-43% margin, Americans say they oppose “a  bill to give some illegal immigrants living in the U.S. a path to legal status.” Also, by a 68%-24% margin, Americans say that “immigration reform should primarily move in the direction of…of stricter enforcement of laws against illegal immigration” rather than “integrating illegal immigrants into American society.” And Americans favor Arizona’s immigration law by a 50%-31% margin. CENTER-RIGHT

8. >Gay Rights: By a 51%-45% margin, Americans “think it should be legal…for gay and lesbian couples to get married.”  By an 83%-10% margin, Americans believe that “homosexuals / gays and lesbians who do NOT publicly disclose their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the military.” Only 24% of Americans oppose “allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.” CENTER-LEFT OR LEFT

9. Taxes/Deficit: By a 63%-36% margin, Americans favor “Increases in taxes on businesses and higher-income Americans” to reduce the deficit. By a 64%-35% margin, Americans oppose “Major changes to the Social Security and Medicare systems” in order to reduce the deficit. By a 57%-40% margin, Americans favor “Major cuts in spending on domestic government programs.” By a 60%-33% margin, Americans favor “Increasing tax revenues by making major changes to the current federal tax code.” CENTER OR CENTER-LEFT

10. Last but not least, when it comes to corporations, Americans overwhelmingly disagree that corporations are “persons,” with “Nearly four

in five (79%) Americans support[ing] passage of an amendment to overturn the [Supreme Courty’s Citizens United] decision and make clear that corporations do not have the same rights as

people, thus giving Congress the authority to limit the amount of money corporations can spend on elections.” LEFT OR CENTER-LEFT

Bottom line: On all of these issues except for one (immigration), a majority or plurality of the American people favor “center” to “center-left” (aka, progressive) policies. Only when it comes to immigration can the American people be said to favor a “center-right” policy (although many polls also show Americans strongly supporting “comprehensive immigration reform,” including a path to earned citizenship). [In addition, it’s important to point out that only a VERY small minority of Americans support the far-right, extremist policies supported by Republican presidential candidates like Michele Bachman and Rick Perry] Yet, all this evidence to the contrary, the corporate media continues to accept, at face value, statements by politicians that America is a “center-right” nation. Why is that?

  • hokieguru

    You are right, Lowell, that Jon Huntsman is conservative… no doubt about that… Utah is one the most conservative states in the country.

    However, if the GOP were smart enough to nominate Jon Huntsman as its Presidential candidate, he would be the most difficult candidate to run against.  He seems like he is more moderate that the other GOP candidates… and I honestly don’t think he’s a serious candidate this year for the 2012 GOP nomination… he’s really preparing for 2016… because he thinks that the Teabag wing will likely be the 2012 nominee… and they won’t win this year… and then the GOP will go back to more traditional GOP candidates… this is all about positioning… I am glad, too, because I would be more worried about a 2012 Huntsman general election campaign because he would curry favor with the independents… thank heavens that we have the worst GOP field since WWII.