Poll: Americans Want a Direct Say in Government
Respondents in each state were asked this question:
“In 26 states, citizens can sign a petition to put laws or constitutional amendments on the ballot to be decided by the voters at a statewide election. This process is known as initiative and referendum. Would you favor or oppose the initiative and referendum process in your state?”
The results were clear across the country. In every single state, Americans supported the initiative and referendum process by better than two-to-one margins. In 48 of the 50 states, the margin of support was greater than three-to-one; in 40 of 50 states, citizens supported the initiative process by a four-to-one or greater margins.
Support was highest in South Dakota, where 79 percent favored initiative and referendum, compared to only 9 percent opposed. Support for initiative and referendum was lowest in Hawaii, though support still outnumbered opposition better than two-to-one with 58 percent in favor against 21 percent opposed.
South Dakota has a statewide process of initiative and referendum, while Hawaii does not. On average, support was higher in the 26 states with the initiative and/or referendum process than in the 24 states with neither statewide initiative nor referendum.
Each state survey had 500 respondents providing a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. The national average of these 50 state polls – containing a total of 25,000 respondents – was 67 percent in favor of initiative and referendum with 14 percent opposed and 19 percent not sure.
“Americans in every state want a direct say in their government,” said Paul Jacob, president of Citizens in Charge and Citizens in Charge Foundation. “By whopping super-majorities the voters support initiative and referendum, but only roughly half the states have the process available to them.”