Middle Class Supports Key Progressive Policies, Study Shows

09/19/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

ThinkProgress is touting an encouraging study from the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy that indicates that wide swaths of middle-class Americans support a broad array of policies that are typically written off as being out of the mainstream. Furthermore, that support is not confined to self-identified Democrats.

DMI's first annual survey on the Middle Class and Public Policy reveals that America's middle-class households are fearful families - overwhelmingly pessimistic about the direction of the country, especially the economy and high gas prices. Most have little flexibility in their own economic situations and have little if anything left over each month after meeting basic expenses. The middle class is disgruntled with the direction of the country and politicians and see little coming out of Washington that would give them cause for optimism.

Middle-class Americans do know what policies they would like to see enacted. Despite media depictions of a sharp red and blue divide, the nation's middle class displays broad consensus on a range of public policies aimed at easing their economic squeeze...

According to the study, a "National health care plan available to all Americans at an affordable cost" is deemed an "excellent/good idea" by 75% of middle class Americans, including 57% of Republicans. Employer-paid family and medical leave also garners strong support (71%), across both sides of the aisle (63% Republicans/84% Democrats). One number that should leap out, however, is the broad consensus on whether "individuals who entered the U.S. illegally as children" should be allowed to "apply for legal residency if they go to college or serve in the military and have no criminal record." As it happens, the middle-class seems to value the notion of fairness strongly: 61% find that to be an "excellent/good idea," including 55% of Republicans.

Naturally, you can expect policies such as national health care and fair immigration practices to continue to be depicted by the media as ideas that draw their support from some limited faction or fringe, because that looks good with their big red-and-blue map of the United States in the background. But now, you will know that this is wrong.

Suggest a correction