Voters overwhelmingly support term limits for members of Congress, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey.
The survey finds that 70% of likely US voters are in favor of establishing term limits for all members of Congress. That’s just slightly down from an all-time high of 73% in 2016. Only 15% now oppose term limits, while another 15% are undecided.
The findings come at a time when 73% of voters want 81-year-old Sen. Mitch McConnell to resign from his position as Senate minority leader. Sen. McConnell froze twice on camera during press conferences this summer.
Other senators aged 80 or older include health-impaired California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, 90; Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, 89; and Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, 82.
Octogenarians in the House of Representatives include California Democrat Grace Napolitano, age 86; D.C. Democrat delegate Eleanor Norton, 86; Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers, 85; New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell Jr., 86; California Democrat Maxine Waters, 85; Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer, 84; South Carolina Democrat Jim Clyburn, 83; and California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, 83, who recently announced she will run for another term.
Term limits for Congress are favored by 76% of Republicans and 68% of Democrats and unaffiliated voters, Rasmussen notes.
However, Congress must approve, by a two-thirds vote, any amendment to place term limits on itself. Only 23% of voters say it’s likely Congress will vote to place meaningful term limits on its members. And 74% say they don’t believe it’s likely Congress would approve term limits, including 45% who say it’s not at all likely.
More Democrats (29%) than Republicans (23%) or unaffiliated voters (15%) say Congress is at least somewhat likely to vote for term limits on its own members.
There is very little “gender gap” on this issue, with just slightly more men (72%) than women (69%) in favor of term limits.
Along racial lines, 72% of white voters, 61% of black voters, and 71% of other minorities are in favor of imposing term limits on members of Congress. Whites (19%) are less likely than black voters (28%) or other minorities (31%) to say it’s at least somewhat likely that Congress would actually enact term limits on its own members.
Voters under the age of 40 are much more likely than their elders to say that Congress would vote to establish term limits on its members.
It’s not a partisan issue, as 78% of self-identified conservative voters favor imposing term limits on members of Congress, as do 69% of moderates and 60% of liberals.
Breaking down the electorate by income, voters in the highest bracket — those earning more than $200,000 a year — are the most likely to say Congress would vote to approve term limits.
Private-sector workers (77%) are more likely than government employees (69%) or retirees (68%) to favor term limits for members of Congress.
The Heritage Foundation wrote: “It is difficult to overstate the extent to which term limits would change Congress. They are supported by large majorities of most American demographic groups; they are opposed primarily by incumbent politicians and the special interest groups which depend on them. Term limits would ameliorate many of America’s most serious political problems by counterbalancing incumbent advantages, ensuring congressional turnover, securing independent congressional judgment, and reducing election-related incentives for wasteful government spending. Perhaps most important, Congress would acquire a sense of its own fragility and temporariness, possibly even coming to learn that it would acquire more legitimacy as an institution by doing better work on fewer tasks.”
The Rasmussen survey of 1,062 US likely voters was conducted on September 3-5, 2023, by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.
Peter Malbin ✉
Peter Malbin, a Newsmax writer, covers news and politics. He has 30 years of news experience, including for the New York Times, New York Post and Newsweek.com.
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