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ASPEN IDEAS FESTIVAL “DOES THE US CONSTITUTION STILL WORK FOR 21ST CENTURY AMERICA?” JULY 9, 2010

NEW YORK • WASHINGTON • DENVER • SEATTLE • LOS ANGELES • SAN FRANCISCO • AUSTIN• LONDON • HONG KONG • BEIJING • DUBAI ©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .


METHODOLOGY Between June 18 and June 22, 2010, PSB conducted 1000 online interviews with GP Americans. Between June 30 and July 5, PSB conducted an additional 500 online interviews with GP Americans to gain insight on supplemental questions. •

The following audiences are shown throughout this report: •

Gender • •

Region • • • •

Democrat (Strong or weak) (D) Republican (Strong or weak) (R) Independent (I)

Income • •

Northeast (NE) Midwest (MW) South (S) West (W)

Political Affiliation • • •

Male (M) Female (F)

Less than $75k annual household income (<$75k) More than $75k annual household income (>$75k)

The margin of error is +/-3.1% for the first fielding, +/-4.4 for the re-field. CONFIDENTIAL ©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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TABLE OF CONTENTS This presentation outlines America’s attitudes towards the following:

1

The U.S. Constitution as a Governing Document

2

Rights Protected in the U.S. Constitution

3

The Current System of Government Under the U.S. Constitution

4

What should change? And What Should Not Change?

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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FOUR CLEAR TRENDS TO WATCH

1

The American people are solidly behind the basic principles of the Constitution

2

But they are divided on its interpretation

3

Are deeply frustrated with its current implementation

4

And want changes that give the people more power

ŠPEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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FUNDAMENTAL ATTITUDES ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION

Americans say that the Constitution is a timeless document and should be changed minimally. Most say the Constitution is still effective today, more than 200 years after it was written, but are split as to whether the Constitution should be interpreted broadly or literally.

ŠPEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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THE CONSTITUTION IS STILL EFFECTIVE AND SHOULD BE CHANGED MINIMALLY •

Although, approximately one-third say the Constitution needs significant updates and is no longer as effective as it was when it was written.

The Constitution…

Is timeless and should be changed minimally

Needs significant updates

60

32

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

54

30

Is still effective today

Is no longer as effective as it was when it was written

5


AMERICANS ARE OPEN TO BROAD INTERPRETATION OF THE CONSTITUTION •

Women and Democrats are more likely to be open to broad interpretations while men and Republicans more likely to be strict constructionists. Which of the following is closest to your view?

The U.S. Constitution should be interpreted as literally as possible

Don’t know

42

14

Gender

The U.S. Constitution should be interpreted as literally as possible The U.S. Constitution should be more broadly interpreted to take into account the changes of modern society Don’t know

The U.S. Constitution should be more broadly interpreted to take into account the changes of modern society

43

Region

Political Affiliation

Income

All

M

F

NE

MW

S

W

D

R

I

<$75k

>$75k

42

48

37

34

44

45

43

24

69

41

45

36

43

40

46

48

39

43

44

65

23

42

40

52

14

12

17

19

17

12

13

11

8

17

15

12

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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MOST AMERICANS SAY THAT THE SYSTEM OF CHECKS AND BALANCES WORKS WELL •

Across all subgroups, a majority of Americans support the system of checks and balances among the branches of government and say it is effective in preventing any single branch from having too much power. Which of the following is closest to your view?

64 Checks and balances works well (because it prevents any one branch from having too much power )

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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Checks and balances does not work well (because it inhibits too much the government’s ability to get anything done) 7


ONLY ONE QUARTER OF AMERICANS SAY THE PRESS HAS TOO MUCH FREEDOM Do you think there is too much or too little freedom of the press?

46 28 18 8 The right amount

Too much

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

Too little

Don't know

8


ATTITUDES ABOUT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS Americans say Freedom of speech is the most important right the U.S. Constitution guarantees.

Rights for All

Rights for Some

The majority of Americans would like to see the Constitution protect more rights – notably expanding equality and privacy rights.

Americans are split as to whether the Constitution protects all citizens equally, and question extending citizens’ rights to corporations, criminals, and terrorists. The majority of Americans believes that terrorists should be treated differently than other criminals.

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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AMERICANS SAY FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RIGHT THE CONSTITUTION GUARANTEES You will now see the rights that are currently protected by the Constitution. Using your mouse, please arrange the individual rights from right to left in terms of which is most important.

No unauthorized arrests (55)

0 Least

important right

Right to “plead the 5th”

Right to vote

Freedom of assembly

Freedom of religion

Right to bear arms

Freedom of speech (85)

Most 100 important right

No cruel or unusual punishment Right to trial by jury

Freedom of the press

10


MAJORITY AGREE CONSTITUTION SHOULD PROTECT MORE RIGHTS Which of the following is closest to your view?

61

The Constitution should protect more rights

10

The Constitution should protect fewer rights

ŠPEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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AMERICANS’ ATTITUDES ON RIGHTS THAT SHOULD BE GUARANTEED Which of the following rights do you think the U.S. Constitution should guarantee, if any? multiple responses permitted

Right to equality regardless of gender

70

Right to equality

69

Right to privacy

68 65

Right not to be enslaved

59

Right to own property Right to an education

56

Right to equality regardless of sexual orientation

55

Right to an attorney

55

Right to security of person

51

Right not to incriminate yourself

51

Right to social securities

49

Right not to be tortured

47

Right to health care

47

Right to get married

43

Right to employment

41

Right to paid vacation time ©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

22

12


AMERICANS ARE SPLIT OVER WHETHER THE CONSTITUTION PROTECTS EVERYONE EQUALLY •

Men and Republicans are more likely to say that the Constitution protects everyone, while women and Democrats are more likely to say that it protects some more than others. Which of the following is closest to your view?

The U.S. Constitution protects some people more than others

44

The U.S. Constitution protects everyone equally

47

Gender

Region

Political Affiliation

Income

All

M

F

NE

MW

S

W

D

R

I

<$75k

>$75k

The U.S. Constitution protects everyone equally

47

59

36

35

47

46

59

38

69

43

43

59

The U.S. Constitution protects some people more than others

44

32

55

54

43

46

34

54

21

52

47

35

9

8

9

11

9

9

7

8

10

6

10

5

Don’t know

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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AMERICANS DIVIDED OVER CIVIL LIBERTIES VS. NATIONAL SECURITY Which of the following is closest to your view?

Protecting national security is more important than civil liberties

44%

Civil liberties are more important than protecting national security.

39%

ŠPEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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MORE THAN HALF SEE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THE POLICE COULD VIOLATE CIVIL LIBERTIES TO PROTECT NATIONAL SECURITY

Which of the following is closest to your view?

There are circumstances under which the police should be allowed to violate civil liberties to protect national security.

Don’t know

56

13

Gender

There are circumstances under which the police should be allowed to violate civil liberties in order to protect national security. There are no circumstances under which the police should be allowed to violate civil liberties in order to protect national security. Don’t know

There are NO circumstances under which the police should be allowed to violate civil liberties to protect national security.

31

Region

Political Affiliation

Income

All

M

F

NE

MW

S

W

D

R

I

<$75k

>$75k

56

59

52

58

62

54

50

54

61

56

54

61

31

32

31

30

21

33

37

35

24

33

31

32

13

9

17

12

16

13

13

11

16

11

15

7

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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AMERICANS QUESTION EXTENDING CITIZENS’ RIGHTS TO CORPORATIONS, CRIMINALS, AND TERRORISTS How much do you agree with the following statement: “____ should have the same rights as citizens guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Corporations 41

51

Criminals

Terrorists

32

14

64

Should the judicial system treat terrorists differently than criminals?

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

80

8 32

60

Agree Disagree

Yes No Don't know

16


ATTITUDES ABOUT THE CURRENT SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT Despite satisfaction with the Constitution, only 25% of Americans are satisfied with the way the government functions today Nearly 70% of Americans say that the Government today is functioning WORSE than intended.

By 2 to 1, Americans agree that the system works best when the Executive and Legislative branches are controlled by different parties, and the majority of Americans would like to see more bipartisanship (58%). ŠPEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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ONLY 25% OF AMERICANS SATISFIED WITH THE WAY GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONS TODAY How satisfied are you with the way the federal government functions today?

25%

Satisfied with the way the federal government functions

ŠPEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

71%

Dissatisfied with the way the federal government functions

18


MAJORITY SAY THAT GOVERNMENT TODAY DOES NOT WORK AS WELL AS THE FRAMERS INTENDED

Do you think that the U.S. government today is working better than, worse than, or as well as the framers of the constitution intended?

8

Better than intended

10 14

As well as intended

Worse than intended

68

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

Don’t know

19


BY 2 TO 1, AMERICANS PREFER DIVIDED GOVERNMENT Which of the following is closest to your view?

The government works best when the Presidency and Congress are controlled by the same party – it’s easier to get things done.

Don’t know

27

23

44% of Democrats prefer oneparty controlling both branches

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

50

The government works best when the Presidency and Congress are controlled by different parties – otherwise one group gets too much power

72% of Republicans prefer different parties

20


AMERICANS WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE BIPARTISANSHIP AND COLLABORATION Do you think there is too much or too little collaboration between political parties?

17

11 The right amount Too little

15

Too much Don't know

58

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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MAJORITY SAY ALL BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE EQUAL Thinking of the three branches of government, which branch do you feel should have the most power?

54 16

12

8

They should all be equal

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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LEGISLATIVE BRANCH IS PERCEIVED TO HAVE BIGGEST IMPACT ON DAILY LIFE •

Across all subgroups, a plurality of Americans say that Congress has the biggest impact on their daily lives, while close to 1 in 5 say they don’t know. Which branch of the government has the largest impact on your daily life?

Don’t know

14

17 14

55

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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WHAT AMERICANS ARE OPEN TO CHANGING To fix the current governmental system, Americans are open to some changes in the Constitution, particularly in the judicial branch.

The Executive Branch Americans are open to electing the President through a direct vote and imposing a mandatory retirement age, but do not want to change citizenship requirements.

The Legislative Branch

The Judicial Branch

State Representation

Americans are open to extending term lengths, but will not change age requirements or impose a mandatory retirement age.

Americans would like to elect Supreme Court Justices directly, impose a mandatory retirement age, and limit the amount of time that justices can serve.

Americans are open to granting equal representation to the District of Columbia and to granting states with larger populations MORE representation in the U.S. Senate.

ŠPEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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AMERICANS ARE SOMEWHAT OPEN TO CHANGES IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH Open to Changing Abolish the electoral college*

Not Open to Changing

Allow the Impose a President to retirement age serve a 3rd nonfor the consecutive President term*

Allow the President to serve a 3rd consecutive term*

Update to one Update the age six-year term for requirement for the President* the President

Update the President’s citizenship requirements

Change the current system

74 51 Maintain the current system

42

31

26

60

63

11

22

14 38

50

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

83

71

25 *Re-field data collected between June 30-July 5, 2010


AMERICANS ARE OPEN TO SOME CHANGES FOR THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Open to Changing Impose a retirement age for members of Do away with the Congress filibuster*

Change the current system

Maintain the current system

66

23

53

35

ŠPEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

Not Open to Changing

Extend House term lengths to four years*

Update age requirement for Senators

Update age requirement for members of the House

40 14

16

80

79

45

26 *Re-field data collected between June 30-July 5, 2010


AMERICANS ARE MOST OPEN TO CHANGING THE JUDICIAL BRANCH

Open to Changing

Change the current system

Maintain the current system

Impose a mandatory retirement age for justices*

Impose term limits on justices*

69

66

Elect justices rather than appoint them

51

23

ŠPEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

26

34

27 *Re-field data collected between June 30-July 5, 2010


MAJORITY SAYS JUSTICES SHOULD BE ELECTED •

Men are split on this issue while women strongly favor electing judges over having them appointed. Do you believe that Supreme Court justices should be...?*

15 Elected

51

34

Appointed Don’t know

Gender

Region

Political Affiliation

Income

All

M

F

NE

MW

S

W

D

R

I

<$75k

>$75k

Elected

51

42

60

44

46

59

50

55

54

45

55

41

Appointed

34

41

27

33

36

32

36

38

32

36

28

50

Don’t know

15

17

13

24

18

9

14

7

14

18

17

8

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

28 *Re-field data collected between June 30-July 5, 2010


AMERICANS ARE OPEN TO MAKING CHANGES IN THE SYSTEM OF REPRESENTATION Not Open to Changing

Open to Changing

Change the current system

Allow DC equal representation in Congress

States with a larger pop. Give 4 Senate seats to big states, 3 to mediumshould have more representation in the U.S. sized states and 2 to small states Senate

49

40

30

50

56

30 Maintain the current system

ŠPEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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AMERICANS SUPPORT CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES BY POPULAR REFERENDA •

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to favor utilizing popular referenda to amend the Constitution. Would you favor or oppose being able to change the Constitution by popular referenda, where citizens can propose changes and then the entire country would vote on the issue by popular vote?

49 Strongly favor

22

Somewhat favor

Somewhat oppose

24 9 16

Strongly oppose

25

Don’t know

41 Gender

Total Favor Strongly favor Somewhat favor Total Oppose Somewhat oppose Strongly oppose Don’t know

Region

Political Affiliation

Income

All

M

F

NE

MW

S

W

D

R

I

<$75k

>$75k

49 22 27 41 16 25 9

49 24 25 48 17 31 2

50 21 29 35 15 20 15

54 33 21 35 15 20 11

55 31 24 39 12 27 6

46 22 24 44 22 22 10

45 6 39 45 12 33 9

58 22 36 35 15 20 7

47 22 25 42 12 30 10

47 24 23 48 20 28 6

54 23 31 39 18 21 8

40 22 18 50 12 38 11

©PEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

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ROADMAP OF CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES Abolish the electoral college (74%)*

Americans are open to making at least a few changes to all branches of government

Allow President to serve a 3rd nonconsecutive term (42%)*

States with a larger pop. should have more reps (40%)

Mandatory retirement age for the President (51%)

Mandatory retirement age for the Congress (66%)

Most willing to change

Mandatory retirement age for justices (69%)*

DC should have representation (49%) Limit justicesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; term in office (66%)*

Supreme Court Justices should be elected (51%) Do away with the filibuster (53%)*

Least willing to change

Extend house terms to four years (40%)* ŠPEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

31 *Re-field data collected between June 30-July 5, 2010


IN SUM, FOUR CLEAR TRENDS TO WATCH

1

The American people are solidly behind the basic principles of the Constitution

2

But they are divided on its interpretation

3

Are deeply frustrated with its current implementation

4

And want changes that give the people more power ŠPEN N , SC H O EN & BER L AN D ASSO C IAT ES, L L C .

32

United States Constitution Amendment Survey | Aspen Ideas Festival - Penn Schoen Berland (PSB)  

PSB Survey of American constitution tells about its current implementation and it depicts that American people are behind the basic principl...

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