POLL: Most Americans who care about the filibuster don't like it and want it changed

POLL: Most Americans who care about the filibuster don't like it and want it changed
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex.MICHAEL REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
  • We asked Americans what they think about the Senate filibuster.
  • The parliamentary rule designed to delay bills for debate has been a source of heated contention.
  • Most respondents said they don't have an opinion, but most of those who do want it changed.

For all of the attention the Senate filibuster gets inside the beltway and in political journalism, many Americans don't really care about it, a new Insider poll found.

The most consensus we got when we asked 1,117 people about their views on the procedure was 36% saying they don't have a strong opinion about it.

The poll, conducted in late March, asked respondents their view on the filibuster. They were presented with the following options and asked which best describes their view:
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  • I think the Senate needs to abolish the filibuster entirely (20%)
  • I think the Senate should require a "talking" filibuster, where Senators must remain on the floor to delay a bill (21%)
  • I think the current filibuster rules are fine as is (17%)
  • I think the filibuster should be expanded back to include judicial nominations (5%)
  • I don't have a strong feeling about the filibuster (36%)
After the 36% who said they don't care about the filibuster, the next most common response was 21% saying they'd like the Senate to require a "talking" filibuster, where senators would have to physically stand on the Senate floor and speak for as long as they can to delay a bill. Currently, a full blown floor speech is not required.

Under the current rule, at least 60 senators need to invoke "cloture" by voting to bring debate to a halt and move on.

Another 20% said they want the Senate to abolish the filibuster entirely.
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Just 17% said they think the rule is "fine as is."

The least common response was "I think the filibuster should be expanded back to include judicial nominations," which only got 5%. Back in 2013, Senate Democrats chose the "nuclear option" to eliminate the filibuster for cabinet and judicial nominations, with the exception of the Supreme Court. In 2015, Republicans invoked their own "nuclear option" by removing the Supreme Court exception to push through the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch.
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Among respondents, 36% said they would likely take part in their state's Democratic primary in 2024, compared to 31% who said they would likely take part in their state's Republican primary.

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn't try to weight its sample based on race or income. Polling data collected 1,129 respondents March 27-28, 2021 with a 3 percentage point margin of error.

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