Disengaged Public Leans Against Changing Filibuster Rules

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

05/16/2005 - As the Senate prepares for a showdown on the use of the filibuster against some of President Bush's judicial nominees, the issue remains mostly off the public's radar. But public opinion ­ especially among the roughly one-third of the public who has paid at least fairly close attention to the issue ­ tilts against changing Senate rules to prohibit filibusters against judicial nominees.

This national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted May 11-15, 2005, among 1,502 Americans, finds that by 37%-28%, the general public opposes changing the Senate rules to stop the use of filibusters against judicial nominees. But a relatively large number of Americans (35%) have no opinion on the matter. Among the minority who have followed the story fairly or very closely, a majority (54%) opposes changing the rules on Senate filibusters.

About as many Americans blame President Bush (38%) as blame congressional Democrats (34%) for the stalemate over judicial nominees. Opinion on the broader principles involved in the filibuster debate is decidedly mixed. While 62% believe the Senate's minority party should be able to block nominees they feel strongly about, a majority (53%) says that President Bush should be able to appoint anyone he wants to the courts if a majority of senators agree.

Read the full report Disengaged Public Leans Against Changing Filibuster Rules on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site. 

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