Back in June, we posted on the launch of the ONE Vote '08 campaign campaign to address global inequities in health and standard of living. More recently, that same campaign has done some polling of New Hampshire voters via Peter D. Hart Research Associates & Mclaughlin and Associates. While there's some data about the candidates (not surprisingly, Hillary Clinton (36-19 over Barack Obama) and Mitt Romney (33-17 over Rudy) lead their respective races), the real meat of this polling data suggests a more compassionate America than political and news stories would have you believe. For example:
VIEWS OF AMERICA’S ROLE IN THE WORLD Nearly all Democrats (97%) and 70% of Republicans agree that America’s standing has suffered in recent years. In addition to a strong military, Democrats (91%) and Republicans (78%) agree that the United States also needs to improve diplomatic relations by doing more to help improve health, education and opportunities in the poorest countries around the world. Both Democrats (81%) and Republicans alike (70%) agree that reducing poverty, treating preventable diseases and improving education in poor countries around the world will help make the world safer and the United States more secure. Democrats and Republicans agree that America has a moral obligation as a compassionate nation to help the world’s poorest people through foreign assistance. More than nine in ten Democrats (93%) and 84% of Republicans agree that when millions of children around the world are dying from preventable diseases and hunger, we have a moral obligation to do what we can to help. Similarly, Democrats (90%) and Republicans (85%) agree that it is in keeping with the country’s values and our history of compassion to lead an effort to solve some of the most serious problems facing the world’s poorest people. When it comes to addressing these issues, Democrats (86%) and Republicans (67%) agree that it is important for Presidential candidates to discuss their plans for addressing global hunger and poverty issues in this campaign. Additionally, eight in ten Democrats (81%) and Republicans (80%) agree that the next President should keep the commitments made by President Bush to prevent and fight the spread of AIDS in Africa.
There are Republican and Democratic differences, but the responses are more similar than not. All this talk about "values voters" these many years has been claptrap and balderdash, designed to polarize rather than unite. The real values voters are speaking here... Americans in New Hampshire understand our traditional role in the world and want to return to it.
STRONG SUPPORT FOR CANDIDATES WHO MAKE GLOBAL HEALTH AND EXTREME POVERTY A PRIORITY There is bipartisan support for Presidential candidates who support measures to improve disease prevention, reduce hunger and improve education. The majority of both Republicans (62%) and Democrats (77%) would be more likely to support a candidate who supports saving 15,000 lives a day by fighting the world’s most devastating diseases including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Similarly, the majority of both Republicans (60%) and Democrats (76%) would also be more likely to support a candidate who supports reducing by half the number of people in the world who suffer from hunger and live in extreme poverty, which would mean 300 million less hungry people each year. Additionally, 54% of Republicans and 75% of Democrats would be more likely to support a candidate who supports providing greater access to primary education for 77 million children who are not in school with a special emphasis on girls. The majority of Republicans (52%) and Democrats (80%) also supports new approaches to how the United States provides foreign assistance, such as increasing micro-credit to help people start small businesses, and doing more to eliminate corruption to make sure the economies of developing nations thrive and that help goes to the people most in need. In short, members affiliated with both parties (73% Democrats / 62% Republicans) would be more likely to support a candidate who supports increased investments in foreign assistance programs and working with other countries to strengthen national security.
National security can be strengthened in more ways than the barrel of a gun. Long term programs to work on the roots of inequity will do wonders for our own security, and this enlightened self-interest should be a major part of the Presidential campaign (as well as becoming firm US policy). While it wasn't specifically polled, pandemic preparedness is on my radar screen, and it is worth mentioning in this context that the burden of a flu pandemic would be borne by the world's poorest.
An influenza pandemic of the type that ravaged the globe in 1918 and 1919 would kill about 62 million people today, with 96 percent of the deaths occurring in developing countries.
There's every reason to support a return to a rational and enlightened foreign policy, and it turns out that folks in NH agree. We will be following whether there's more polling available from other states in coming weeks, and post data when available. More information is available here from the ONE campaign blog.