Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Democracy Corps, in close partnership with Revolution Messaging, conducted a straw poll of progressive activists, journalists, and bloggers at the Netroots Nation conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is the fourth year the straw poll has been conducted at the conference, the second time participants have been able to take the poll via text message, and by far the largest straw poll conducted yet at the conference, with over 500 people participating.

Netroots participants show broad support for President Obama, with 80 percent approving of his performance as president (27 percent strongly approve, 53 percent somewhat approve) and a strong net positive favorability (with 85 percent giving him a warm personal rating). When asked who they most want to see as the President’s challenger, they showed a strong preference for Sarah Palin to be Barack Obama’s opponent, followed closely by Representative Michele Bachmann.  By a wide margin, these respondents also identified job growth as the top issue for President Obama. Stan Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, reacted to the results: “Despite some publicized criticism from the left, progressives remain loyal to Barack Obama and remain focused on the economy as the top issue our country faces today."

Key Findings

  • Much like last year, these participants want to see the Obama administration make one issue their top priority: job growth. Sixty-six percent think that improving the employment market should be the principal focus for the President and Congress. The next most important priority - protecting healthcare reform - sits at 9 percent.
  • While respondents are neutral about their own personal finances, they are pessimistic about the economy as a whole, giving it a net negative favorability rating in which just 15 percent have a positive view of the economy.
  • Progressives least want Mitt Romney to face President Obama in the 2012 election. But, by a wide margin they believe that he will be the nominated candidate of the GOP.
  • While Netroots Nation is most focused on the presidential race (with half of respondents naming it their top priority), near 30 percent said their top priority for 2012 is the race for the US House of Representatives.
  • Labor unions, and commentator Rachel Maddow are held in very high regard by this audience, while the Democratic Party and Democrats in Congress are given near neutral ratings.


These results are based on a straw poll of 519 conference attendees of the Netroots Nation conference in Minneapolis, MN. The poll was conducted via SMS (text messaging), iPads onsite, and an online platform.

Sources: Stanley Greenberg, Drew Lieberman, Patrick Faust, and Pablo Kenney

Clients: Democracy Corps, Netroots Nation, and Revolution Messaging