Tuesday, August 3, 2021

America's in the Mood for....Liberalism?

There are lots of reasons why Democrats might not be able to accomplish all they wish in this Congress. The bipartisan infrastructure bill has yet to pass. The $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill is still just a theory and many, many problems could whittle it down considerably or even derail it entirely. Other policy priorities seem to lack enough Democratic unity and/or Republican buy-in to pass. This is after all the razor-thinnest of Congressional majorities. And there's a very good chance that Democratic control won't last past 2022.
One thing that doesn't stand in their way though. the general public policy mood in the country. It is more liberal than it's ever been measured, going back to 1952. This is based on the latest update of political scientist James Stimson’s measure of public policy mood (chart below from Matt Grossman).
As explained in (among other places) Stimson's books Public Opinion In America and Tides of Consent, public policy mood combines polling responses across a wide range of policy issues to measure the American public’s collective appetite for more or less government, liberal or conservative policies. Even if we think citizens are not fully informed about all the various policies they are asked about, Stimson’s mood measures their underlying preference for government activism.
And, at least for now, the appetite for government activism is quite strong.
May be an image of text that says '75 70 2020 Estimate 2018 Estimate 65 pon 60 Liberal 55 Percent 50 45 40 1952 1956 1960 1964 1968 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016 2020'

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