As we discussed in our chapter on citizenship and civic culture, Americans have long been suspicious of concentrations of power. Gallup reports that those suspicions are alive and well:
Americans continue to be worried about the effects of big companies and big government, with 35% saying they are very or somewhat satisfied with the size and influence of major corporations, and 36% saying they are very or somewhat satisfied with the size and power of the federal government. Both of these levels of satisfaction are up slightly from the last two years, but significantly below satisfaction levels recorded in the early years of the last decade, when satisfaction with government was generally higher than satisfaction with major corporations.Americans are also suspicious of the entrenched incumbents that they reelect. Gallup reports:
Even after the 2012 election in which Americans re-elected most of the sitting members of the U.S. House and Senate -- as is typical in national elections -- three-quarters of Americans say that, given the opportunity, they would vote "for" term limits for members of both houses of Congress.As in the past, they would also scrap the electoral college:
Republicans and independents are slightly more likely than Democrats to favor term limits; nevertheless, the vast majority of all party groups agree on the issue. Further, Gallup finds no generational differences in support for the proposal.
These findings, from Gallup Daily tracking conducted Jan. 8-9, are similar to those from 1994 to 1996 Gallup polls, in which between two-thirds and three-quarters of Americans said they would vote for a constitutional amendment to limit the number of terms that members of Congress and the U.S. Senate can serve.
Americans are nearly as open to major electoral reform when it comes to doing away with the Electoral College. Sixty-three percent would abolish this unique, but sometimes controversial, mechanism for electing presidents that was devised by the framers of the Constitution. While constitutional and statutory revisions have been made to the Electoral College since the nation's founding, numerous efforts to abolish it over the last 200+ years have met with little success