Tuesday, January 18, 2011
House Speaker John Boehner like many of his predecessors has pledged that the new Congress will be more open and transparent than the previous one, but voters want even more openness than he has promised.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 11% of Likely U.S. Voters think most members of Congress read laws before they vote on them. Sixty-five percent (65%) don’t think that’s the case, and another 24% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Just before Democrats in Congress passed the national health care bill last March, only 20% of voters believed most members of Congress understood what was in the plan.
Last-minute deal-making on the health care bill prevented its public posting until just before the vote, and in response to complaints about the handling of it and other legislation, Boehner has said all bills will be posted publicly online three days before the House votes. But voters say overwhelmingly that that’s not long enough.
Eighty-two percent (82%) of voters say that, except in extreme emergencies, legislation should be posted online in final form and available for everybody to read before Congress votes on it. Only eight percent (8%) disagree. This is nearly identical to findings in September 2009 after Congress had returned from a recess filled with angry town hall meetings over the health care bill, the bailout plans and the $787-billion economic stimulus.
Of those who favor posting proposed final legislation online, 92% don’t think Boehner’s plan goes far enough: 33% say bills should be posted one week before a vote, and 59% think posting should take place two weeks or more in advance. Just six percent (6%) say three days is good enough, and one percent (1%) feel one day beforehand is all right.
The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on January 15-16, 2011 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. See methodology.
Do most Political Class voters think Congress members read laws before they vote on them? Become a Platinum member and find out.Rasmussen subscribers can log in to read the rest of this article.
ORBecome a member and get full access to all articles and polls starting at $3.95/month.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $3.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.