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Voters seek ways to take back control

July 10, 2013, at 10:30 AM

The frustration Americans feel towards their government and their elected officials is well-documented. But an interesting new Gallup survey shows large majorities backing three political reforms they think could turn things around:

1. 68 percent of voters support a national referendum on key issues as long as enough voters sign a petition requesting a popular vote.
2. 61 percent want to shorten the presidential campaign to just five weeks — stretching from late September to the November election.
3. 58 percent support a national primary day to choose the presidential candidates.

Gallup notes that at various times this year, it has retested public support for the three reforms using slightly different question-wording and format, and each time found that half or more of Americans still favor each of them.

There are not large political differences in support for the three measures, although Republicans do show slightly more support for each than Democrats.

Political scientists can argue over whether these measures would work or whether they would potentially cause even bigger problems. But what’s clear from the survey is that Americans are desperately seeking ways to increase their influence over public affairs and decrease the power of politicians, political parties, and wealthy special interest groups.

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