75 Percent Of Americans Want Term Limits For Congress

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 18 2013 2:48 PM

What Do We Want? Congressional Term Limits!

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US Vice President Joe Biden (C) helps to count of the Electoral College votes for the 2012 presidential election during a joint Senate and House session at the Capitol in Washington on January 4, 2013

Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

What do we want? Congressional term limits and an end to the Electoral College. When do we want it? Now! And, also, awhile ago.

A new Gallup poll out today shows broad, bi-partisan support for imposing term limits on elected congressional officials and for getting rid of the Electoral College: 75 percent of Americans would vote for the former and 63 percent for the latter, given the chance. Just 21 percent would vote against House and Senate member term limits, while 29 percent want to keep the Electoral College. 

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As the pollsters note, with a few exceptions Americans have previously expressed a majority desire for both these measures, despite repeated failures to abolish the institution and the re-election of incumbents. Back in 1996 and 1994, for example, Americans were similarly overwhelmingly in support of term limits when asked by Gallup. And support is even more consistent for doing away with the Electoral College: 

Gallup has asked Americans about the Electoral College in a number of ways over the years, and regardless of the precise phrasing, large majorities have always supported doing away with it. That includes 80% support in 1968 and 67% in 1980 with wording similar to what is used today.

Of course, Republicans were more supportive of the institution in 2000 after George W. Bush took office for his first term. But otherwise, both parties are clearly in favor of getting rid of the college.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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