This is the second part of our three-part series on where research, polls and surveys show a supermajority of Americans agree, including a majority of each political party and Independents. We’ve ranked these from low to high percentage of agreement, so this second part shows the middle four issues that Americans agree on.
7. 75% of Americans believe the country’s criminal justice system needs overhaul, according to a Public Opinion Strategies poll. 68% of Republicans, 78% of Independents and 80% of Democrats support reform. 87% disapprove of mandatory minimums and support alternatives to incarceration. Most notably, 85% agree the main goal of the criminal justice system should be rehabilitation, not punishment.
The First Step Act, passed in late December 2018, is a small step toward criminal justice reform; but, it’s a start. It will affect about 181,000 federal prisoners, of the 2.1 million jailed in the U.S. It tackles some of the harsh sentencing policies, the use of restraints on pregnant women, compassionate release for terminally ill patients, placing prisoners closer to family and de-escalation training for correctional officers, among other changes focused on rehabilitation. Credit for the bipartisan victory goes to formerly incarcerated people and their families who swarmed Capitol Hill for months.
6. 78% of Americans want to see Citizens United overturned, according to a Bloomberg poll. Most Americans don’t believe corporate money equals free speech and feel the law is skewing our elections for the worse. 88% of Americans want to reduce the influence large donors have over lawmakers, including 84% of Republicans and 92% of Democrats.
Additional research by Pew Research reports that 77% of Americans want to limit campaign spending and 74% believe its important big donors do not have more influence than others (although 72% believe that’s not currently the case). Numerous organizations agree that the corrupting influence of money on our politics results in public officials with views that aren’t popular with most Americans. See the judgement and evidence from political scientists from Northwestern University on how big money affects our politics.
5. 79% of voters support citizenship for Dreamers, according to a Fox News poll, a Quinnipiac poll, a CNN poll, and several other polls. 83% favor legalizing undocumented immigrants rather than deporting them. And 62% feel it’s important for Congress to address immigration law to deal with Dreamers, higher than the importance ratings for Health Care and Tax Reform.
A recent Gallup poll shows that 75% of Americans feel immigration is good for the county, 85% feel “legal” immigration is good for the U.S. Positive feelings about immigration cross party lines – 65% of Republicans and Republican leaning Independents and 85% of Democrats and Democrat leaning Independents respond positively about immigration. Positive feelings about immigration from the American people have been recorded by Gallup since 2001, when the annual study began.
4. 80% of Americans “bothered” by corporations, wealthy not paying fair share of taxes, according to the Pew Research Center. The majority of Americans feel the federal tax system is unfair, including similar shares of Republicans and Democrats.
The Brookings Institute reports that what bothers Americans most about taxes is “the feeling that some Corporations don’t pay their fair share”. Particularly problematic is special rates for corporations to return money held out of the country. Many Americans view offshore tax havens as unpatriotic. Corporate tax cuts are among the least most popular things government can do, yet Congress did just that in 2017 – does the will of the people matter at all to our politicians?
Do you agree or disagree with these four issues? How important are each of the issues to you? Do you think Congress will take action on any of these issues in the coming year? Should Congress be pushed to take action? Don’t miss the last part of the series that identifies the top three issues where Americans agree.