The Public Policy Polling survey of 520 Rhode Island voters finds 70% want Reed and Whitehouse to vote in favor of changing the Senate rules “so as to reduce gridlock.” The survey was commissioned by Fix the Senate Now.
Whitehouse has been a staunch advocate along with other younger senators in favor of changing the chamber’s rules to make it harder for Republicans to block legislation. Reed has been more cautious, voting against the proposal last year and taking a wait-and-see approach as momentum grows for another vote in January.
The poll shows 81% of Rhode Island voters think the U.S. Senate does not deal “with important issues facing the country in a timely manner.” Asked about specific changes, 79% said nominees for the judiciary should get an up-or-down vote; 77% said senators should have to keep debating on the floor during a filibuster; and 68% said senators should only be able to filibuster each bill once.
Senator Reed’s spokesman Chip Unruh noted Thursday that there is no formal Democratic proposal for rules changes on the table yet. He said Reed has spoken with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about the issue.
Greg Sargent, the plugged-in liberal Washington Post journalist, suggested Thursday that Whitehouse and his allies may fail in their latest push. “Real filibuster reform is anything but a sure thing,” he wrote. “It may even be at risk as we speak.”
Public Policy Polling is a Democratic-affiliated firm in Raleigh, N.C., that received high marks for the accuracy of its election polls this year. The automated telephone survey of 520 Rhode Island voters was conducted Dec. 10-11. Full results are here.