News & Politics

Readers Speak: Gore, Chomsky and Ivins Are Winners

Gore wins big in AlterNet's presidential straw poll while Hillary trails badly; Chomsky grabs Most Valuable Progressive and Ivins gets Best Opinion Writer.
The results are in. More than 13,000 readers cast their straw vote in AlterNet's reader survey and poll conducted during the last two weeks of June. Readers came out in droves to state their preference for Al Gore as Democratic Presidential candidate for 2008.

Gore, whose popularity appears to be growing with the success of his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, received 35 percent of the vote, followed by Senator Russ Feingold at 20 percent and former vice presidential candidate John Edwards at 11 percent. Wesley Clark received 4 percent, and John Kerry and Mark Warner 2 percent.

The big surprise in the survey is that Senator Hillary Clinton, whom many in the corporate media suggest is the front runner for the nomination, only received 7 percent of the vote. This is particularly surprising since 53 percent of the survey respondents were women. One possible reason for Senator Clinton's poor showing and Gore's popularity is that 24 percent of our survey participants chose the war in Iraq as their top priority issue. Hillary Clinton has not shown any leadership on the issue or been among those pushing for an end to the bloodshed.

On the heels of the Iraq war, 16 percent of readers tagged global warming as their priority issue. (Gore's film on that topic is now the fourth highest grossing documentary of all time.) Fourteen percent picked health care, and 1 percent alternative energy policy as their priorities.

Of those responding to the survey, 70 percent overall described themselves as Democrats, with 48 percent of those identifying as Progressives who mostly vote Democrat. Twelve percent called themselves Independents, 7 percent Green and only 1 percent Republican.

More than half of AlterNet readers say they visit the site one or more times a day, with two-thirds forwarding links to friends and colleagues, and more than 70 percent emailing an elected official. Many AlterNet readers are excited about AlterNet's growing video content. Two-thirds are interested in video interviews and 55 percent look forward to progressive film previews. As of now, only a tiny percentage of AlterNet readers are ready for text messages to come over their mobile phones.

The Most Valuable Progressive designation went to Noam Chomsky, chosen by 21 percent of the voters, followed by Michael Moore at 15 percent and Amy Goodman at 13 percent. Howard Zinn had the votes of 13 percent and Cornell West 9 percent.

Molly Ivins ran away with 38 percent of the vote for Best Opinion Writer, followed by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman at 17 percent and Arianna Huffington at 10 percent.

In other poll categories, Bono topped the charts as Most Effective Celebrity with 35 percent, followed by George Clooney at 20 percent. Susan Sarandon nipped her partner Tim Robbins 7 percent to 5 percent while the Dixie Chicks received 6 percent of the vote.

In the Best Progressive Book category, David Sirota's Hostile Takeover: How Big Money and Corruption Conquered Our Government -- And How We Take it Back at 27 percent bested new author Glenn Greenwald's How Would a Patriot Act?, the first book published by Working Assets Publishing at 13 percent. Crashing the Gates by Markos Zuniga and Jerome Armstrong came in third at 9 percent.

The Best Blog award went to the Daily Kos with 31 percent, followed by Crooks and Liars with 18 percent and Talking Points Memo at 8 percent, although many readers said they didn't pay much attention to the blogs.

There was a very tight race for Best Progressive Website. Despite recent controversies, Truthout.org won with 15 percent, followed by Common Dreams at 14 percent, Salon 13 percent, Huffington Post 12 percent and Grist 11 percent. We appreciate the many hundreds of reader who wrote in votes for AlterNet, even though we didn't include ourselves on the list.

In closing, we were thrilled that more than 1,750 survey respondents have already made a contribution to AlterNet. Even better, more than 8,000 of you indicated you would consider donating to AlterNet in the future. (Just in case now seems like the right time for you to make a contribution, please click HERE and make us happy.)
Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.
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