In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a key part of the Voting Rights Act, should Congress act to provide federal oversight to areas where voters’ rights may be jeopardized? A majority of adults nationally — 53% — think discrimination in voting still exists and should be addressed by Congress. 37%, though, believe such discrimination is a thing of the past and does not require action. 11% are unsure. Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.
POLL MUST BE SOURCED: McClatchy-Marist Poll*
“Americans want Congress to pick up where the Supreme Court left off,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, like so many other issues today, there is a strong partisan divide.”
- More than three in four Democrats — 76% — say Congress needs to act and address discrimination in voting.
- Nearly half of independent voters — 48% — believe Congress needs to take on the issue.
- Almost six in ten Republicans — 58% — report discrimination in voting is outdated and does not require action by Congress.
Should the Voting Rights Act be a priority for President Barack Obama and Congress? 54% of Americans say they should act, if not immediately, then within the next couple of years. This includes 28% who think the Voting Rights Act should be an immediate priority and 26% who believe the issue should be a priority over the next couple of years. 25% do not think voting rights should be a priority at all, and 20% are unsure. Similar proportions of registered voters nationally agree.
Getting Specific: Changes to Election Laws
Which proposed election law changes do Americans support? Among adults nationally:
- Most — 83% — think changing election laws to require voters to show identification before voting is a good thing. 13% believe it is a bad thing, and 4% are unsure. A similar proportion of registered voters share this view.
- Nearly seven in ten U.S. residents — 68% — support changing legislation to allow early voting in elections before Election Day. 29% oppose this proposal, and 3% are unsure. Here, too, the opinions of registered voters are in line with those of the overall population.
- About six in ten adults nationally — 60% — think allowing voters to cast their ballot on the Sunday before Election Day is a good thing. 28% believe it is a bad thing, and 11% are unsure. Similar proportions of registered voters share these opinions.
- A majority of Americans — 57% — favor same day registration so people can register to vote on Election Day. 40% are against this measure, and 4% are unsure. Among registered voters nationally, 52% believe this proposed change is a good thing. 45% think it is a bad thing, and 3% are unsure.