Nearly six in 10 Americans support legislation now under consideration in the Senate giving Washington, D.C. a full voting member in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. About a third of adults nationwide oppose the idea.
The Senate is expected to hold a cloture vote on the measure today, while the House Judiciary Committee is likely to vote this week to send the bill on to the full body for a vote.
Though the bill aims to be party neutral, granting one seat to deeply Democratic Washington and another to fast-growing, conservative Utah, support for granting District residents a voting member of Congress splits along party lines. Support for the plan peaks among Democrats, with 67 percent backing the measure. Among independents, 58 percent are supportive, as are half of all Republicans polled. Even among conservative Republicans a sizable minority (46 percent) back the measure.
Overall support is about on par with what it was in a Post-ABC poll conducted in April 2007, when 61 percent supported the measure, but as awareness of the plan has risen (11 percent had no opinion then, 7 percent do so now), opposition to the plan has also climbed (28 percent opposed it then, 35 percent do now). Opposition rose nine points among Republicans, from 32 percent to 41 percent, among independents it climbed six points.
Seniors are less apt than others to favor adding a House vote for Washington, with 49 percent in favor and 38 percent opposed. Two-thirds (66 percent) of those under age 30 support a vote for D.C., as do 58 percent of those aged 30 to 64. Men and women diverge on the issue, with 64 percent of women in favor of giving D.C. voting rights, compared with 53 percent of men. Some, but not all, of this difference is accounted for by party identification.
Regionally, residents of the Northeast (63 percent) and Midwest (61 percent) express the most support for the plan. In the West (57 percent) and South (55 percent) support lags somewhat. Closer to home, 74 percent of those polled in the District and nearby states (DE, DC, MD, VA, WV, PA) said they favor a vote for nation's capital.
This Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted Feb. 19-22 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults including both landline and cell phone-only respondents. Results for the full poll have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.
Q. On another subject, as you may know, Washington, D.C. has a delegate in Congress, but that person is not allowed to vote on laws. Would you support or oppose new legislation giving D.C. a full voting member in the U.S. House of Representatives?
Support Oppose No opin. All 58 35 7 Men 53 42 5 Women 64 28 8 18-29 66 27 7 30-64 58 37 5 65+ 49 38 14 White 55 37 8 Non-white 67 29 4 Non-college 58 35 8 College grad 60 35 5 Democrat 67 26 6 Republican 50 41 9 Independent 58 36 5 Liberal 65 27 8 Moderate 60 35 5 Conservative 53 40 7 Lib. Democrat 73 22 5 Conserv. GOP 46 45 9 East 63 29 8 Midwest 61 35 4 South 55 38 7 West 57 33 9