(photo: Barack Obama via Flickr)

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that, despite the oft-repeated conservative mantra, we are not a center-right nation. To begin with, the poll found a small majority (51 percent of Americans) think the government should be doing more to help people, while only 46 percent believe the government does too many things.

Drilling down into the poll, when it comes to solving issue like our budget deficit, the American people overwhelmingly back progressive solutions over those pushed by conservatives. From First Read:

The most popular: placing a surtax on federal income taxes for those who make more than $1 million per year (81% said that was acceptable), eliminating spending on earmarks (78%), eliminating funding for weapons systems the Defense Department says aren’t necessary (76%) and eliminating tax credits for the oil and gas industries (74%). The least popular: cutting funding for Medicaid (32% said that was acceptable), cutting funding for Medicare (23%), cutting funding for K-12 education (22%), and cutting funding for Social Security (22%).

The fifth most popular was phasing out the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year (68 percent).

Obviously, people don’t like either tax increases or cuts to programs, but when the American people are forced to choose, their preferred solution is progressive tax increases and defense cuts. In addition, they consider the absolute worst option for closing our budget deficit is cutting our country’s most successful socialist programs, free public education, public health insurance (Medicare and Medicaid), and public old age assistance (Social Security).

We are a nation where overwhelming majorities support progressive tax increases and demand their socialist programs remain untouched. That isn’t “center-right,” that is a progressive majority.