Conventional wisdom holds that 2014 will be a bad year for Democrats nationally. Among Democratic voters, there has been considerably more enthusiasm for would-be candidates in 2016 than actual candidates in the fast-approaching November midterms. But a large survey of 4,507 Americans from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute released Tuesday offers a bit of good news for liberals: The country is feeling relatively progressive.
PRRI’s survey of Americans’ values found that a majority of Americans think inequality unfairly holds people back. Two-thirds of those surveyed (66 percent) would like the government to do more to address the gap between rich and poor, a 6 percentage point rise from 2012. Though there is still a big difference based on party affiliation, a slim majority of Americans (51 percent) think that the best policy to help spur economic growth is government spending on education, infrastructure, and tax increases for the wealthy. The effects of the recession are still keenly felt, and more Americans see themselves as “working class”—a group who would like a bit more help from the state—rather than “middle class” than before.