Quinnipiac is out with a new poll that shows a very slight plurality of the nation thinks that entirely eliminating the filibuster is a bad idea rather than a good one. This is still surprisingly strong support for ending the filibuster among the public, given that the position lacks a single prominent champion advocating for it. From their poll:
Some people have suggested eliminating the filibuster procedure in the U.S. Senate so that all that would be needed to pass legislation would be a simple majority of votes, 51 out of 100. Do you think that is a good idea or a bad idea?
Good idea 42%
Bad idea 45%
While overall the poll found the country slightly opposed to the idea, the split is very even, with the difference just outside the poll’s 2.4% margin of error.
Although Quinnipiac didn’t even find majority support for the belief that keeping the filibuster is a good idea, this is still most supportive poll I have seen yet for the filibuster. Polls last year from the New York Times, Mark Penn and PPP all found majority support for ending the filibuster.
Strong public support despite no prominent champions for ending the filibuster
Even using just Quinnipiac’s numbers, I still find it impressive that there are almost as many people in the general public who support completely eliminating the filibuster and returning the Senate to majority rule as there are individuals who support the status quo. Totally ending the filibuster effectively lacks any even semi-prominent champion, outside a few bloggers.
On the other hand, neither president Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden has publicly called for ending the filibuster. Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid say they support keeping a filibuster in some form. Although the New York Times and the Washington Post editorial boards each support modest change, both speak against the “radical” idea of restoring majority rule. Despite it being the death of many of the House Democrats’ achievements, I haven’t see a single prominent House member publicly push to totally end the filibuster. The closest you can find to a prominent supporter of allowing a simple majority to pass bills is Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), but that is only because he still supports his old proposal to weaken the filibuster by slowly reducing the requirement for cloture to end a filibuster over many days of debate.
Almost the entire mainstream political and news structure as declared it off limits or too radical. Basically every senators and most major newspapers for some reason at least claim to support the filibuster at least in principle. Yet still in the most friendly poll so less than a majority actual think eliminating the filibuster and allow the Senate to pass bills with a simple majority as the founder intended is a bad idea.. It is a reminder of often how disconnect what is declared too radical or completely out of bounds in Washington is from the regular public.