If you are wondering why President Obama and his congressional allies are finding health care reform, and much of the rest of his agenda such heavy lifting, look no farther than the Gallup poll out today.
It finds 40 percent of Americans call themselves conservatives, 36 percent say they are moderate and only 20 percent say they are liberal. That's why liberals today prefer to call themselves "progressives."
The findings are of a piece with a poll taken on Election Day last year in which people were asked to rate themselves on a scale of one to nine, with one being far left and nine being far right. It averaged out to 5.88, which is clearly center-right. The president, though, has sought to enact an agenda which is clearly left of center.
That same Election Day poll also asked people their top priority issue. Forty-four percent said the economy. Only five percent said health care reform. Even after all the talk about it, health care still ranks far below the economy in current polling.
After accepting what millions saw as a bloated stimulus bill to revive the economy, the president has spent much more time and effort on health care reform, even as the unemployment rate has climbed far past what his advisers said it would be.
Making great big changes on an issue as big as health care was never going to be easy, but especially not with a left-of center-program for a right-of-center country focused on an entirely different issue.
— Brit Hume is the senior political analyst for Fox News Channel.