Interesting data here. Wish I had more time to delve into it but there's a convenient summary available at Media Matters as well as a helpfully concise blog (Unlike this one.). Still, it's one of those sanity restoring reports. Ones that make me feel like less of a strange and lonely maniac spinning in circles of stupefied outrage while the country is full of imbeciles. Because the gist of it is that the country is a lot more progress than the common wisdom would have you believe.
Which, you know, selection bias aside, is really my experience, too. Granted, I live in a blue state in a blue neighborhood, surrounded by progressive friends and liberal relatives but it's always been my sense that the conservative policies – and the politics of resentment that fuel them – have been seriously overreaching for a long time, now. People don't like conservative ideas. And they're very comfortable with a lot of progressive ones.
That's nothing new, though, because as the trend lines go, America is a country that gets progressively more tolerant and enlightened as the years wear on. The times conservatism hold sway are like pausing for breath before being swept up by the tide of history again.
The question is why this report should be so surprising. And, really, the blame goes squarely on those arbiters of opinion and fact who influence what the common wisdom is. For years the narrative in the press, in the media, has been that conservative are dominating and liberals are on the run. The conservatives have driven, have controlled that message and rammed it down our collective throats. How, exactly, is an interesting question I'm not prepared to answer at the moment. But the media establishment has a vested interest in keeping that myth propagated. And an apathetic aversion to challenging their thoughts and ideas. Public opinion can shift, though, and so, too, can the “wisdom” that gets spewed by various talking heads and editorials. It takes time and energy, however, to fight against all that inertia. Reports like this one can do that.