We asked our readers in a recent survey what their opinions were of having term limits for Members of Congress. The responses left no doubt: you said you want term limits.
We conducted a similar survey a couple of years ago which yielded very similar results, so apparently the sentiment among our readers has not changed.
94% of all respondents said they are in favor of term limits for Congress. However, very few of our readers think that it is likely to happen. 88% said it is “very unlikely” that term limits will be enacted, 10% said it is “somewhat likely” and the remaining responses (less than 1% each) rated the possibility as either “somewhat likely” or “very likely.”
What did survey respondents think of the performance of Congress as an institution overall? Not much, apparently.
81% of respondents rated Congress’ performance as “poor,” 18% said “fair,” and only 1% said “very good.” Zero responses were given to the “excellent” option.
Political Affiliations of Respondents
Most survey respondents identified themselves as independents (41%). 31% said they were Republican, 16% said Democrat and 12% as another affiliation.
The answers to the questions didn’t change much when broken out by political affiliation because they trended so far in a given direction. However, Democrats were slightly less in favor of term limits (14% said no versus 3% of Republicans and 6% of independent voters.
Democrats also gave Congress more unfavorable performance ratings than Republicans by just a bit (82% rated Congress poorly whereas 77% of Republicans did so).
Comments from Readers
The original article we posted presenting the survey sparked a debate in the comments about term limits. Opinions varied, but other issues were raised as well, such as the current length of terms for Representatives or compensation levels paid to politicians.
These are a sampling of what some people had to say:
You can join the debate in the comments below or on the previous article announcing the survey.
Our thanks to those of you who took the time to respond to the survey and share your comments!