Vital stats: AEI proudly announces that a new edition of Vital Statistics on Congress is now available free online. This invaluable volume, with reams of data about members of the first branch of government, their tenures, reelection rates, campaign spending, ideological divisions, party structure, and staff, is the go-to reference guide for Congressional watchers. This is the 14th edition of the popular volume. Authors are AEI’s Norm Ornstein and Andrew Rugg, Brookings’ Tom Mann, and the Campaign Finance Institute’s Michael Malbin.
More on the NSA: A new Quinnipiac poll of registered voters confirms the picture given by AEI’s July/August Political Report. Attitudes about the NSA are complicated, with the public concerned about safety from terrorism and their personal privacy. Fifty-four percent in the new poll said the NSA program is necessary to keep Americans safe (40% disagreed). In the next question, an almost identical 53% said it was “too much intrusion into Americans’ personal privacy” while 44% disagreed. In the Political Report we show that concern about protecting civil liberties has risen as we have gotten farther away from 9/11. So, too, in the Quinnipiac poll: 45% said the government has gone too far in restricting the average person’s civil liberties while 40% that they have not gone far enough to adequately protect the country. When Quinnipiac asked the question in 2010, those responses were 25% and 63% respectively.
Political careers: In late 1944 and early 1945, when Gallup asked people whether they would want a son to choose a political career as a life’s work, 21% said that they would. When they repeated the question recently, the response was 25%. When asked whether they would like “a child” to go into politics in their new poll, 31% said they would. Gallup notes that a career in politics has historically ranked well behind medicine, law, business, teaching, and engineering.
Nation on the right track? LGBT views: The Pew Research Center recently released a comprehensive poll of the views of gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgendered Americans. Although the poll was conducted before the Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage, the LGBT community had a very different impression from the public of whether things in the nation were generally headed in the right direction or off on the wrong track. Fifty-five percent of the LBGT community said the nation was heading in the right direction, and 45% wrong track. For the population as a whole, 32% said right track, 58% wrong.
National referendum: In a new Gallup poll, a majority favored a national referendum on key issues if enough voters sign a petition to request a popular vote on the issue. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed were for the proposal, 23% against. Self-identified Republicans were the most likely to support the referenda, with 74% supporting, in contrast to 64% of Democrats and 69% of Independents. Two other proposal garnered support in the survey: a national primary and a shorter campaign.