Punch line: Liberals do an excellent job painting conservatives as heartless, greedy villains. Frank Luntz — right leaning pollster – fights back with some survey results that debunk some myths about conservatives
* * * * *
Excerpted from the Washington Post: Five myths about conservative voters
Myth #1. Conservatives care most about the size of government.
conservatives don’t want a reduced government so much as one that works better and wastes less.
In a poll we completed among self-identified conservatives just before the 2010 elections,“efficient” and “effective” government clearly beat “less” and “smaller” government.
For conservatives, this debate is less about size than about results, along with a demand that elected officials demonstrate accountability and respect for the taxpayer, regardless of whether they’re spending $1 million or $1 trillion.
Myth #2. Conservatives want to deport all illegal immigrants.
Yes, conservatives want effective border control right away. And more than 80 percent are dissatisfied with America’s immigration system. Conservatives don’t want to round up all the illegal immigrants and deport them.
But, conservatives embrace legal immigration. A solid majority believe that there should be an eventual path to earned legal status.
According to our polling in November, seven in 10 conservatives agree with the following statement: “America’s immigration policy should consist of tall fences and wide gates. We need to aggressively prevent illegal immigration, but let those stay that have worked hard and demonstrated a real, measurable commitment to this country through military or public service.”
Myth #3. They worship Wall Street.
Conservatives are highly critical of Wall Street and wholeheartedly celebrate Main Street.
The business leaders that conservatives respect most are entrepreneurs, not chief executives; conservatives value small-business owners above big bankers.
In a poll conducted early this year, I asked conservatives whom they most trusted to get our country on the right economic track. By nearly two to one, they chose small-business owners over corporate America (only “political leaders” did worse).
Most agree with moderates and liberals that things on Wall Street have gotten out of hand. They believe that those who abuse the system should be held accountable and that those who work hard and play by the rules should be free to advance.
Myth #4. Conservatives want to slash Social Security and Medicare.
Conservatives want the programs strengthened, not dismantled. They know Social Security & Medicare need reform, but they want changes to be effective and reasonable.
Conservatives believe in such simple principles as personal choice and greater competition, and they are more confident than liberals in people’s ability to make the right decisions.
For example, 78 percent agree with the statement: “Increasing patient choice in Medicare will help save Medicare from bankruptcy. When patients can shop for better care . . . it will force insurance companies to compete against each other, which lowers costs and increases care.”
Myth #5. Conservatives don’t care about inequality.
Fully 66 percent of conservatives consider the growing gap between the rich and the poor a “problem,” while 21 percent call it a “crisis.”
The big difference between left and right is the difference between opportunity and outcome.
Conservatives want to increase opportunity, giving everyone the freedom and tools to prosper, so that the poor may someday become rich.
Liberals want to redistribute income, making the rich — quite simply — less rich.
* * * * *
Bonus Myth. Conservatives don’t want regulations enforced.
Conservatives also believe that we need better enforcement of the regulations we already have, not more rules.
Like all Americans, they are outraged that there hasn’t been a single prosecution by the Obama administration for the corporate abuses that led to the economic meltdown.
As a focus group participant once asked: “If Martha Stewart was convicted, why no one from Goldman Sachs?”