April 19, 2011

The 90% Test

9 of 10

Polls typically focus on current issues with considerable disagreement. So what do 90% of Americans agree on?

A March Pew Research poll found that fully 90% of Americans said they were hearing mostly bad news about gas prices. Since public opinion surveys typically focus on current issues with considerable disagreement, getting nine-in-ten Americans on the same page is a rare occurrence. So what else crosses this high threshold? Fully 90% of Americans agree that citizens have a duty to vote, people who get rich by working hard are admirable, and that it’s best for the future of our country to be active in world affairs. The proportions saying they are very patriotic (88%) and interested in national affairs (88%) come close, but don’t pass the test. President approval very rarely comes close. George W. Bush’s job approval briefly passed 80% in the months after 9/11, but George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton never even broke 80%. Acceptance of interracial dating may one day cross the 90% threshold. What once was a divisive issue is now approved of by 83%, and overwhelmingly so among younger adults. Read More