Visitors to the Clark County Democratic Central Committee booth at the Clark County Fair in August demonstrated a solid progressive bent by their answers on an opinion poll.
By a margin of better than six to one they urged Congress to allow the Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire. They were similarly adamant that U.S. troops be brought home forthwith from Iraq and Afghanistan. They even more solidly urged that subsidies for corporations and agribusiness be repealed. They insisted that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid should be exempted from budget cutting.
By a closer margin, roughly two to one, they urged Congress to initiate an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring a balanced budget.
All this in a community deemed to be moving to the right on the political continuum? How valid could it be? About as valid as the straw poll at the recent Iowa State Fair that rocketed a Tea Party congresswoman to the front of the thundering herd of Republicans seeking to replace President Barack Obama in 2012.
About 250,000 people went through the gates during the 10-day run of the local fair. Several thousand of them strolled past the Democrats’ booth in the main exhibition hall. At least a thousand paused to ask questions, pose with cardboard cutouts of Obama and the first lady and pick up literature for causes or candidates. And 389 of them took the time to check off responses on the simple poll prepared by Dan Ogden, the venerable and venerated political scientist who has been deeply involve in politics and government for more than half a century.
A small but solid percentage of the poll participants checked off all the more conservative responses. Where 325 people said the Bush tax boodle for rich people should be repealed, 50 said the cuts should be continued. Fifty-one said troops should remain in Iraq and Afghanistan while 286 opined the troops should come home right away. Forty-four said they are in favor of continuing subsidies to corporations and agribusiness. More than 50 indicated they favor cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Perhaps most surprising in a poll showing strong progressive sentiments was support for a balanced budget amendment by a tally of 219 to 104. Such a sweeping amendment, seen by radical conservatives as a sharp weapon by which public endeavor might be stifled, seldom gets much support from liberals, Democrats and other progressive-minded people.
The poll slips stuffed into a box labeled, “Vote: Issues are the issue,” were tallied by Donna Quesnell, president of Clark County Women Democrats and state committeewoman for the 49th LD Democratic Central Committee.
“The ballot box was a real teaser at our booth,” she said. “Some people were really on fire when seeing the ‘The Issues are the issue’ on the box. They took out their pencils and went at it, several voicing comments as they wrote.
“Also, there were exclamation points after many responses. Several people added their own remarks such as, ‘Recall Jaime Herrera.’ ”