It’s rare that you find this: 78 percent of Idahoans favor a congressional action.
But that super-majority stands behind U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador’s attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution placing a 12-year term limit on House and Senate members, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll finds.
The chance that the GOP-controlled Congress will actually pass such an amendment?
Previous attempts to get Congress to self-limit their terms have all failed.
Congressional term limits must be adopted by the U.S. House and Senate themselves, or be part of the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled.
IPW pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds:
- 78 percent of Idahoans want congressional term limits of 12 years – or six two-year terms for a representative and two six-year terms for a senator.
- Only 18 percent oppose such term limits.
- And 4 percent don’t know.
Labrador, R-Idaho, exempts the service of current members of Congress – so if it passes the House and Senate with a two-thirds vote, and then is passed by three-fourths of the state Legislatures – the counting for term limits would start then.
And his HJ Res. 50 keeps the House and Senate limit separate, so a member could serve 12 years in the House and then get elected to the Senate for another 12 years.
Congressional term limits are popular across the nation, various polls have shown.
But Congress itself refuses to act on the issue.
That raises the possibility that term limits could be part of what is called an Article V convention of the states – something that is now being pushed in some state legislatures.
The U.S. Constitution in Article V allows a super-majority of the states to call a constitutional convention – which could adopt proposed amendments – which would only become active after three-fourths of state legislatures approved them.
That would be a way to get congressional term limits into law over the heads of Congress.
However it is done, Idahoans from all demographic and political persuasions want it:
- Republicans favor 12-year term limits, 81-15 percent.
- Democrats want them, 66-28 percent.
- Political independents support term limits, 82-16 percent.
These are overwhelming numbers – rarely do you see this kind of super-majorities on any subject, says Jones, who has been polling in the Mountain West for over 40 years.
All political philosophies want term limits, too:
- Those who self-identified to Jones that they are “very conservative,” want term limits, 88-10 percent.
- “Somewhat conservatives,” 83-12 percent.
- Moderates, 75-21 percent.
- “Somewhat liberals,” 69-30 percent.
- Those who said they are “very liberal,” 63-30 percent.
And Labrador is certainly safe with his own 1st Congressional District voters.
Jones finds that his constituents support term limits for Congress, 78-19 percent.
If the 12-year term limit restriction had been in place, Labrador, elected in 2010, would have to leave the House in 2022.
Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, would have to leave in 2020.
Rep. Mike Simpson would have had to leave in 2010.
As would have Sen. Mike Crapo – out in 2010.
Jones polled 628 adults from Feb. 16-28. Statewide the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.91 percent. In the 1st District, 300 adults were polled with a margin of error of plus or 5.66 percent.