New Poll Shows Strong Nationwide Support for DC Voting Rights
Poll Findings Released at DC Voting Rights Summit
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January 25, 2005
U.S. Public Opinion on DC Voting Rights - January 2005 (PDF file 440 kb.)
Washington, DC - Today, DC Vote released the results of a new poll showing strong bipartisan, national support for full voting representation for DC residents in the U.S. Congress.
The poll of 1,007 U.S. adults found that 82 percent of Americans believe citizens of Washington, DC, should have equal congressional voting rights - in both the Senate and the House - a number that is 10 percentage points greater than a similar poll conducted in 1999. The poll revealed that 78 percent of Americans have serious misunderstandings about the rights of citizens living in DC, but, when informed of DC's disenfranchisement, they support equal voting representation in Congress for DC residents.
The polling data showed strong support across age groups, gender, and political party affiliations. Support in the poll cut across party lines with 87 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans supporting full representation.
A summary of the poll results is attached. The data was released as part of the DC Voting Rights Summit, held today at 9:00 AM at the historic True Reformer Building, 1200 U Street, NW. Over 125 leaders from the nonprofit, philanthropic, business and labor communities joined U.S. Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) and DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for the meeting.
The DC Vote poll also showed that people who have visited DC, or know a friend or family member in DC, are among the most likely to be aware of the lack of voting representation for DC residents. Among those who have visited the DC area, 35 percent are aware that DC residents lack voting representation in Congress, double the national average. 33 percent of Americans who have visited DC are aware of the "Taxation Without Representation" license plate.
"The success of DC's 'Taxation Without Representation' license plate and awareness campaign shows that a simple message, propelled by word of mouth advertising, is really effective at educating Americans," said Ilir Zherka, DC Vote Executive Director. "Enlisting the large DC community of nonprofit organizations and foundations to help spread our message will add even more momentum to this issue at a time of real progress and hope."
The poll is being released at a critical time in the struggle for DC voting rights. Congressman Davis has stated publicly his intentions to push for passage of a bill that would grant DC a full vote in the House of Representatives. As awareness of DC residents' political disenfranchisement grows among Americans, the likelihood of passage of a measure increases.
New Poll Shows Strong Support for DC Voting Rights
A nationally representative telephone survey of 1,007 U.S. adults, 18 years and older, was conduced by KRC Research under the direction of Mark David Richards, Senior Vice President, on January 14-16, 2005. It has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.
The key findings of the poll are as follows:
The most important reasons for support are:
- 78 percent of Americans believe DC residents have the same Constitutional rights as other U.S. citizens, including equal voting rights in Congress.
- When informed of DC resident's disenfranchisement, 82 percent of Americans believe citizens of Washington, DC, should have equal congressional voting rights - in both the Senate and the House. This is a ten-percentage point increase since the question was last asked in 1999.
- Democracy is an American birthright-all American citizens should have the right to vote in their national legislature.
- Washington, DC citizens should be able to teach their children that everyone counts in American democracy.
Other important findings:
- 87 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans support full representation.
- Of the 18 percent who oppose or are not sure about equal voting representation for DC, only 28 percent of those people change their position when representation is limited to the U.S. House of Representatives.
- While only 18 percent of Americans are aware of DC's unequal status, that number jumps to 35 percent for people who have visited DC. A quarter of Americans who have friends or family living in or near DC are aware of DC's status.
- Among those with friends who live in DC, 34 percent were aware of the "Taxation Without Representation" plates.
- 71 percent of Americans support a Congressional bill to give the elected DC government full budgetary autonomy over the local DC budget.
For a full report of the poll results, click here. (PDF file 440 kb.)