At a time when divisive American political rhetoric drives the headlines, and sentiment on elected officials and the direction of the country is bleak, it’s hard to find solutions in which Democrats, independents, and Republicans agree. However, in looking at “age limits” or “term limits” for federally elected officials, it’s clear these are two issues that gain vast amounts of support from across the political spectrum.
In the most recent Bullfinch Group National Survey of 1,200 American adults, respondents were asked if they “support or oppose ‘term limits’ for members of Congress and the U.S. Senate, which would limit the amount of terms an elected official is allowed to serve?” While some may be surprised to see that more than 8 in 10 adults support term limits (81%), what may be more striking is the near identical support shown by self-identified Democrats, independents, and Republicans:
Whatever you personally feel about term limits, one only has to look at the abysmal job approval of Congress, along with a possible (if only partial) “solution” that garners 80% support among Democrats, 81% among independents, and 82% among Republicans as at least the beginnings of a workable issue that we as Americans can get behind.
Furthermore, of the 38 different questions asked to respondents in the survey, only one saw sentiment among Republicans and Democrats more aligned: the question of age limits. When respondents were asked if they “support or oppose ‘age limits’ for members of Congress, the U.S. Senate, and the President of the United States, which would serve as an upper age limit for federally elected officials?” over three-quarters of adults supported age limits (78%), with support among self-identified Democrats and Republicans at 80% and 81% respectively:
If we believe the national studies that show congressional job approval in the dumps, that show favorability of elected officials could be better, or that show a majority of Americans thinking some of our elected officials are too old to productively carry out another term, then we need to be looking for tri-partisan solutions aimed directly at improving the offices and office holders in this country. Age limits and term limits seemingly fit that bill.
… Now the only problem: getting our elected officials to agree.
Brett Loyd is president and CEO of The Bullfinch Group.