While discussion around the filibuster continues, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce conducted a national study among likely voters with oversamples in the key states of Arizona, West Virginia, Colorado and Maine to measure insights on this hotly debated topic.
The following are a snapshot of key findings from this in-depth body of research fielded to understand voter sentiment toward the filibuster.
71% of voters support keeping the filibuster when imagining the other party in power. A messaging battery exercise revealed there are a number of incredibly powerful examples voters support when asked how convincing conceptual arguments are to keeping the filibuster. One of the top performers revealed that more than seven in ten think “eliminating the filibuster can feel good for your party in the moment, but you have to imagine the other party in power. Neither party should have all of the power without any check or balance.”
70% support keeping the filibuster because it ensures each state has the same amount of power and each senator has the same ability to stand up for their constituents.The conceptual argument on equity and equal representation for every state and constituent presents a powerful theme in support for maintaining the filibuster as it was developed as part of how the senate is designed to work.
70% support keeping the filibuster because it forces senators to find bipartisan solutions and work with the minority. Building on the argument the filibuster was developed as a critical component to allow for a functioning Senate, voters are motivated to support keeping the filibuster when presented with the concept that “Some bills that fund important programs in states must be passed for the federal government to operate. The filibuster is important because it forces senators to find bipartisan solutions and work with the minority, which makes legislation better, more stable and widely supported.”
Strong majorities in both parties think the filibuster helps the Senate operate.More than six out of ten (66%) of all likely voters think the filibuster helps the Senate operate. This figure is driven by 68% of Democrats, 70% of Independents and 79% of Republicans. The filibuster is widely understood as a tool that helps the Senate despite the political partisanship of voters.
Voters in Arizona and West Virginia more likely to support Senators Sinema and Manchin for standing in defense of the filibuster. 70% of voters in West Virginia and 62% of voters in Arizona are more likely to support their respective senators if they stand in defense of the filibuster. Notably, 65% of Independents in Arizona and 70% of Independents in West Virginia agree with both Senators Sinema and Manchin for their publicly stated position to not eliminate the filibuster. In reverse, majorities voters in both states indicate they are less likely to support Senators Sinema and Manchin if they were to be in favor of eliminating the filibuster.
About the authors
Ashlee Rich Stephenson
Senior Political Strategist, Political Affairs and Federation Relations, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Ashlee Rich Stephenson, the senior political strategist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, leads the Chamber’s Political Affairs program, which includes issue advocacy campaigns and voter education efforts. She also directs the endorsement process on behalf of pro-business candidates for federal office.