The following seems lengthy, but well worth the read and insight into the real world, where Americans aren't anything like the cartoon GOP version they say they represent:
Salon: Tea Party shocker Even right wingers become liberals when they turn off Fox News : America's center is to the left, and even Tea Partyers are liberals when they turn off Rush and learn real facts … In fact, a sophisticated poll covering 31 budget items as well as revenue sources conducted around the 2010 elections found that Republican, Democratic and independent voters all agreed on much higher taxes and much deeper defense cuts as the most striking elements of how the budget should be crafted.
The General Social Survey: Not only do most Americans think we’re spending too little in almost every area, most conservatives also think the same. Take Social Security and Medicare … two top “entitlements” that Republicans insist must be cut significantly … Progressives long have argued that these programs need more revenues ... liberal Democrats thought we were spending “too little” rather than “too much” … a ratio of over 36-to-1. Republicans thought we were spending “too little” by a ratio of 4.5-to-1. With figures like that it’s no wonder that conservatives in Congress always talk about “saving” Social Security and Medicare.
Researchers at the Program for Public Consultation … in early 2011 released “How the American Public Would Deal With the Budget Deficit” in February 2011, and “Competing Budget Priorities: The Public, the House, the White House” the next month … there is a decided lack of clarity from standard polling about what the public wants: (they want) “… Massive cuts to defense on the spending side, massive tax hikes on the revenue side. Yet the public also supported modest increases in several liberal priority areas: job training, education, energy conservation and renewable energy, and pollution control. Their average net reduction of all spending, $146 billion.
But this was the most “shocking” turnabout, shocking only if you’re a GOP believer and a sucker for their no tax propaganda:
In fact, PPC noted: It is striking that no group — Republican, Democrat, or independents — on average acted in ways that fit their respective media stereotypes. On the revenue side, the public increased taxes by an average of $292 billion—roughly triple the amount proposed by President Obama. Majorities increased taxes on incomes over $100,000 by 5 percent or more, and by 10 percent or more for incomes over $500,000. Majorities also increased corporate taxes and other excise taxes. Overwhelming majorities also favored raising estate taxes: 77 percent favored reverting at least to the 2009 levels, with estates over $3.5 million taxed at a 45 percent rate. These positions are generally so far left, they don’t even appear on the spectrum of discussion in Washington.
Thus, everything the media and Washington’s conventional wisdom tells you about the will of the voters is wrong. But don’t forget the Tea Party! They, too, did not respond as expected. Tea Partyers raising taxes? By more than President Obama? Welcome to the strangest world of all: Welcome to reality.
Overall, red districts and blue districts were very similar in the ways that they increased revenues ... What is surprising is that red districts on average increased revenues slightly more than did blue districts on average.
The reason ... is the greater presence of independents in red districts. Because they favored higher taxes and deeper spending cuts, they tipped the balance to make red districts remarkably similar to blue districts … independents do not vote in GOP primaries, so their voices simply don’t count.
Another PPC survey conducted just after the 2010 midterms found widespread misinformation throughout the electorate, with some of the most prominent examples having clear impact on people’s view of the economy and economic policy. This includes undermining their understanding of how effective economic stimulus has been.
The real polarization in American politics is a split between symbolic conservative intuitions on the one hand, and pragmatic liberal facts on the other. The more that confusion and unconfirmed, even unconscious biases abound, the more that conservative “common sense” carries the day. The more informed that people become, the closer they are to the problems that need solving, the more liberal they become — no matter what they call themselves.
Finally, sober facts bring us together. Unchecked fantasies drive us apart. We need facts now, more than ever, to get our country — and our government — working again.