Despite Non-Partisan Billing of ‘Rally to Restore Sanity,’ 86 Percent Said They’d Vote Democrat on Tuesday

By Penny Starr | November 2, 2010 | 3:35 PM EDT

Comedian Jon Stewart, host of the "Rally to Restore Sanity" in Washington, D.C., Oct. 30, 2010. (AP Photo)

( – A straw poll of 456 people who attended comedian Jon Stewart’s  “Rally to Restore Sanity” on the National Mall on Saturday revealed that the majority approve of President Barack Obama’s policies and said they would vote Democratic in Tuesday’s elections.

A USAction straw poll of rally participants, conducted by Lake Research Partners at the “non-partisan” rally hosted by Stewart and fellow left-wing comedian Stephen Colbert, found that 86 percent said they were likely to vote Democratic in the mid-term elections.

Another 8 percent said they are undecided, with 1 percent planning to vote Republican. The remaining 5 percent said they are unlikely to vote.

The poll also showed that only 1 in 4 who responded said they were as enthusiastic about Tuesday’s election as they were for the 2008 presidential race.

USAction President William McNary said Tuesday’s election is not about witches or manning up, in reference to campaign criticism leveled against some Republican candidates. The midterm election is about real issues that matter to the future of our country, he said.

 “Our survey was designed to find out what they care about,” said McNary. “This election is about jobs, health care, the economy, poverty, war, and many other issues effecting Americans,” he said.  “We want to find out what is truly driving people this election season."


Attendees of the "Rally to Restore Sanity" in Washington, D.C., Oct. 30, 2010. (Photo: Dan Joseph)

A plurality (41 percent) said the president’s number one priority ought to be improving the jobs situation, more than double the number who selected any of other issue option. Second tier priorities include quality education (18 percent), energy and the environment (17 percent), ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (13 percent) and improving health care (11 percent.)

When asked to rate Obama’s performance as president, 56 percent said they “strongly approve” and 34 percent said they “somewhat approve” – only 2 percent said they “strongly disapprove.”

When asked what should the Obama administration do, 87 percent of respondents said “invest in programs to put people back to work,” while 13 percent said “focus on cutting spending.”