The Public vs. Conservatives on the Issues

Conservatives are holding up important pieces of legislation that the public strongly supports, writes Ruy Teixeira.

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The proposed deal on tax cuts is getting all the attention right now. But conservatives are digging in their heels and refusing to cooperate in several other areas. These include the New START treaty with Russia; the DREAM Act allowing illegal immigrants who came to this country as children to receive legal status if they go to college or join the military; and ending the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which would allow gays to serve openly in the military. Their lack of cooperation in each case is derailing legislation that has the strong support of the American people.

Consider these results from a new Gallup poll where the public was asked how they would vote on various issues if these issues as well as the candidates were on the ballot on Election Day. The public “voted” by 67-28 in favor of allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

And 54 percent of the public said they were in favor of allowing the illegal immigrants who came to this country as children to become legal if they attend college or join the military, compared to 42 percent who were opposed.

Finally, the public said they would vote to ratify the New START treaty with Russia by 21 points, 51-30.

It’s a shame to see conservatives standing in the way of legislation that is both vitally important and backed by the public. It truly gives the lie to their claims of speaking for the American people.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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