Dispatches from the Creation Wars

A new Washington Post/ABC poll shows that most Americans oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier to confirm judicial nominees, and it’s not even close. 66% are opposed to it, while 26% are for it. According to The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, the Republicans’ internal polling is showing the same thing and that is why many are backing away from the so-called “nuclear option”:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate of the “nuclear option” to end the Democrats’ filibuster of judicial nominees, is privately arguing for a delay in the face of adverse internal party polls.

Details of the polling numbers remain under wraps, but Santorum and other Senate sources concede that, while a majority of Americans oppose the filibuster, the figures show that most also accept the Democratic message that Republicans are trying to destroy the tradition of debate in the Senate.

The Republicans are keeping the “nuclear” poll numbers secret, whereas they have often in the past been keen to release internal survey results that favor the party. David Winston, head of the Winston Group, which conducts Senate GOP polls, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Confirming public disquiet over the “nuclear” or “constitutional” option, Santorum said, “Our polling shows that.”

Despite the huge push from the right on this, the public isn’t buying it. So much for that “will of the people” thing we so often hear from them.


  1. #1 CP
    April 27, 2005


    You missed Chris Matthews last night talking about this poll with some “media watchers.” Both of them said that the poll was framed in a misleading way (even the guy on the left agreed), as it asked people if they supported “changing Senate rules” to help get up or down votes. Apparently MSNBC did their own poll replacing this with “ending the filibuster rule” and it turned out that 40% were in favor, 50% against.

    In any case, the damage control machine on the right is on the job and quickly, as usual. The Left always seems to lack the efficiency of the Right when it comes to this sort of thing.


    P.S. Enjoyed your radio appearance — I listened to the online stream. Your opponent sounded very silly to me with all of his rhetoric about “culture of death” and such. Good job!

  2. #2 spyder
    April 27, 2005

    Odd that a poll that asks a more appropriately accurate question is considered misleading while one that ask a leading question is more valid?? In essence, the option is about presenting a point of order, voting on the point of order, then continuing with the voting based on the usual rules of the Senate. The so-called “filibuster rule” exists in a limbo state, as long as it is not challenged under a point of order; it really isn’t a rule in that sense.

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