By MARK PENN
December 15, 2010
One thing that’s emerged from these six months of polling is just how far removed our nation’s capital typically is from the rest of the country. This month alone, POLITICO’s “Power and the People” poll shows D.C. is divided from the rest of the country on issues of the economy (38 percent of D.C. elites think it’s on the right track, while only 26 percent of the general population agrees), congressional agenda (half of D.C. elites think deficit reduction should be top priority, but just 35% of adults say the same), and our president (57 percent of Beltway insiders plan to vote for him in 2012 versus only 37 percent of the rest of us.) It’s notable then that there’s one topic in which they’re distinctly in sync: Julian Assange and whether to go after him.
When asked if the founder of WikiLeaks should be prosecuted as a terrorist for publishing over 250,000 diplomatic cables, by 48 percent to 22 percent the sample of all Americans said yes compared to 49 percent of D.C. elites who agreed and 36 percent who disagreed. In other words, roughly the same percentages of both said Assange should face prosecution, though 30 percent of the general population remains undecided.