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National Constitution Center Poll:

The National Constitution Center released the results of its annual poll on public opinion about constitutional issues this week, and the results are quite interesting. Here is how the NCC described the results in a press release:

Americans oppose giving the federal government more power to improve the economy, and strongly oppose government intervention in private enterprise, according to a new poll on constitutional issues released today by the National Constitution Center and the Associated Press. The Center commissioned a similar poll in 2008, and intends to poll annually to see how responses change over time.

The 2009 poll found that Americans strongly oppose allowing the government to take partial ownership of private enterprise, even if it would prevent them from going out of business (71%) or losing jobs (66%), or if the failure of the industry would seriously harm the economy (60%).

In addition, results were split as to whether health care was something the government should ensure for all Americans.

In other findings, the poll shows that Americans generally have a strong attachment to constitutional values and an overall commitment to the ideals laid out in the Preamble of the Constitution, including the separation of power, rule of law, and protection of individual rights. In particular, 61% of Americans believe the rule of law should be followed, even if it comes at the expense of public safety. This result is up from 54% in 2008.

In addition, 75 percent of poll respondents agreed with the statement that "The United States Constitution is an enduring document that remains relevant today" (up from 70 percent in 2008); while only 23 percent indicated agreement with the alternative view that "The United States Constitution is an outdated document that needs to be modernized." I also found it interesting that only 37 percent of respondents agreed with the statement "If a majority of people want something to happen, the rights of a few shouldn't stand in the way," while 57 percent preferred "The rights of everyone should be protected, even when that means saying no to something the majority of people want to happen." Further, 75 percent opposed the idea of "giving the President more power at the expense of the power of Congress and the courts" even if "it would help improve the economy."

This is just one poll, and there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of the results. Nonetheless, I found it to be quite interesting. The full poll toplines are available here.

ruuffles (mail) (www):

In addition, 75 percent of poll respondents agreed with the statement that "The United States Constitution is an enduring document that remains relevant today" (up from 70 percent in 2008); while only 23 percent indicated agreement with the alternative view that "The United States Constitution is an outdated document that needs to be modernized."

Oh cmon! Let me make a single change.

The Bible is an enduring document that remains relevant today.
The Bible is an outdated document that needs to be modernized.

They're asking if the Constitution (or the Bible) needs to be amended, not how it should be interpreted.
9.16.2009 6:29pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):
Oh for crying out loud. Here is the real question that you didn't include

NCC18. Which comes closest to your view?
9/3/09-
9/8/09
Judges should interpret the laws as narrowly
as possible, taking into account only what is
clearly the intention of the lawmakers
OR
43
Judges should interpret laws broadly, taking
into account the broader interests of the
nation
52
Don't know 5
Refused *
Based on: N=1,001

See now, 52% favor the commie socialist liberal hippie activist judges. (By that I mean Stevens and Breyer, not Reinhardt.)
9.16.2009 6:33pm
John (mail):
One possible reason for the different percentages between "If a majority of people want something to happen, the rights of a few shouldn't stand in the way" and "The rights of everyone should be protected, even when that means saying no to something the majority of people want to happen" is that the first could be interpreted to mean that "the few" shouldn't stand in the way of what a majority wants, even thought that is not what the sentence says. That would be consistent with the answer to the second question, that the rights of everyone should, (nevertheless) be protected.
9.16.2009 6:38pm
Borris (mail):

Further, 75 percent opposed the idea of "giving the President more power at the expense of the power of Congress and the courts" even if "it would help improve the economy."


Obviously these people are engaging in acts of "straight up" racism by refusing to give more power to Obama.

Even an "typical white person" like Jimmy Carter understands this.
9.16.2009 6:49pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):


Obviously these people are engaging in acts of "straight up" racism by refusing to give more power to Obama.

So Boris , which side would you be on if it was "national security" instead of "the economy" and "Bush" instead of "Obama"? Hmm?
9.16.2009 6:54pm
Angus:
Interesting, but the questions were terribly worded.
9.16.2009 6:57pm
Perseus (mail):
"The United States Constitution is an enduring document that remains relevant today" (up from 70 percent in 2008); while only 23 percent indicated agreement with the alternative view that "The United States Constitution is an outdated document that needs to be modernized."

Why would the Constitution need modernizing when we've got justices who take it upon themselves to do it for us? And conservatives don't want any modernizing. So the 23% in favor of modernizing the Constitution seems surprisingly high.
9.16.2009 7:04pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

Why would the Constitution need modernizing when we've got justices who take it upon themselves to do it for us? And conservatives don't want any modernizing. So the 23% in favor of modernizing the Constitution seems surprisingly high.

Read this question.

NCC18. Which comes closest to your view?
9/3/09-
9/8/09
Judges should interpret the laws as narrowly
as possible, taking into account only what is
clearly the intention of the lawmakers
OR
43
Judges should interpret laws broadly, taking
into account the broader interests of the
nation
52
Don't know 5
Refused *
Based on: N=1,001
9.16.2009 7:09pm
RPT (mail):
It actually looked like a pretty good and varied group until I saw John Yoo listed as a visiting scholar.

Perseus, you are slightly disingenuous here. I think it is generally agreed that conservatives absolutely love the late 19th century, and still expanding, modernization of the constitution that allowed the recognition of corporations as persons with rights that are not found in the original document.
9.16.2009 7:12pm
RPT (mail):
Borris, nice to see you here expressing the Joe Wilson perspective. What does the "straight up" term mean in this context?
9.16.2009 7:14pm
Angus:
"The United States Constitution is an enduring document that remains relevant today" (up from 70 percent in 2008); while only 23 percent indicated agreement with the alternative view that "The United States Constitution is an outdated document that needs to be modernized."

Were I interested in getting different results, I would phrase the questions as:
"The United States Constitution should only be interpreted according to knowledge that existed in 1787."
and
"The United States Constitution should be interpreted in light of knowledge of the modern world."

Bet that would bring results that the National Constitution Center would object to.
9.16.2009 7:18pm
Perseus (mail):
Perseus, you are slightly disingenuous here. I think it is generally agreed that conservatives absolutely love the late 19th century, and still expanding, modernization of the constitution that allowed the recognition of corporations as persons with rights that are not found in the original document.

I'm not being disingenuous, just engaging in caricature. But I am somewhat surprised that a quarter of the people think that the Constitution is an "outdated document that needs to be modernized."
9.16.2009 7:31pm
Borris (mail):
RPT:
I only repeat the beliefs of Obama's supporters. Joe Wilson never called anyone racist for disagreeing with Obama.
In my statements like this I have never said anything bad about Obama. I only repeat the things that Obama's supporters have said.
If you don't like what I say, maybe you should complain to the people that originally peddle this line of argument.

"straight up" is from Janeane Garofalo's "This is racism straight up." comment.
And "typical white person" is, of course an Obama quote.
I am sure at some point I can work in a Maureen Dowd quote in, but considering she hears words that people don't say, that may be a little tough.
9.16.2009 7:42pm
Borris (mail):
Oh "And I'll note that some of us predicted this before the election."
-Glenn Reynolds

Although, we were sold the idea that this would be a post-racial Administration. Not quite the change I was hoping for.
9.16.2009 7:47pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

In my statements like this I have never said anything bad about Obama. I only repeat the things that Obama's supporters have said.

LOL. Obama has already rebuked Carter. Nice try. better luck tomorrow. And stop linking to PJ. You and everyone else look silly doing it.
9.16.2009 7:50pm
Ebenezer (mail):

I also found it interesting that only 37 percent of respondents agreed with the statement "If a majority of people want something to happen, the rights of a few shouldn't stand in the way," while 57 percent preferred "The rights of everyone should be protected, even when that means saying no to something the majority of people want to happen."


I could be wrong, but don't those results say the same thing?
Only about 40% (37%) of people believe that the majority should always triumph over minority viewpoints, while about 60% (57%) agree that the rights of everyone should be protected even if the majority is against it. So either way about 60% is saying that the majority shouldn't always get their way. The differences in percentages can easily be chalked up to people just not understanding the question...
9.16.2009 7:54pm
Ebenezer (mail):
Yeah, I just reread it. Nevermind, I appear to be one of the idiot's who wouldn't understand the questions.
9.16.2009 7:56pm
CDR D (mail):
>>> Judges should interpret laws broadly, taking
into account the broader interests of the
nation
52
Don't know 5
Refused *
Based on: N=1,001


See now, 52% favor the commie socialist liberal hippie activist judges.<<<



It would have been nice had they asked the 52% a follow-up question about how they think judges should determine just what the "broader interests of the nation" are.

Do they determine it based on what their golf buddies are saying? TV news? Newspaper editorials? Blowtoads on talk radio? Whatever interest group makes the most noise?

Whatever. It's still and end run around Art. V.
9.16.2009 8:06pm
Sarcastro (www):
I'm pretty sure Borris is some sort of bot for "straight up" whitener or something.

Glad to see Carter's quote knocked some of those bits loose and brought him back, on message and everything!
9.16.2009 8:26pm
CDR D (mail):
>>>...and...<<< should be "an". Need an edit feature.

P.S. IP 207.200.116.xx is blocked again. It's an aol proxy.

Must be some real bad boys trying to post through it.
9.16.2009 8:30pm
Angus:
I looked over the NCC's site, and I am puzzled. Why on earth would the National Constitution Center be putting on a Princess Diana exhibit??
9.16.2009 8:57pm
geokstr (mail):

ruuffles:
And stop linking to PJ. You and everyone else look silly doing it.

Of course, you would command that we shouldn't link to sources that conservatives actually have learned to trust, at least somewhat.

For decades, we didn't have any sources of news that weren't slanted to the left. Then along came Fox (derided as Faux here by the left), talk radio and the internet. Now that we actually have places to get our news from that are NOT liberal, you and your ilk have done your best to defame and smear them. Well, for your information, we have as much respect for the links you provide to the old media which you think supposedly "prove" you're right as you have for ours.

Too late. The genie's out of the bottle, and we're not going back to the NYT and all the old media. One of the major reasons they're dying is that now the right actually has alternatives and are exercising their right to vote with their dollars and are going elsewhere. You'd better hope that the Obama's new FCC "diversity" team can shut them all down.

And exactly on point, I was just flipping channels and what should I come upon but a CNN discussion with a liberal host and two liberal guests (one was Roland Martin, a race-monger) who were dominating the conversation over one hapless outnumbered conservative. Subject - how all the criticism of Obama is racially motivated, including "health care reform" which is now being used by the right as a code word for "reparations".

I nearly put my shoe through the screen.

Anyone who says that the left is not charging anyone who disagrees with Obama with racism is either disingenous, dishonest, stupid or some combination of all three.
9.16.2009 9:31pm
HoyaBlue:

The 2009 poll found that Americans strongly oppose allowing the government to take partial ownership of private enterprise, even if it would prevent them from going out of business (71%) or losing jobs (66%)




Wait. So there's 5% of them who oppose intervention to prevent businesses from going up, but do not oppose it to save jobs?

Am I missing something here?

Does that not seem incongruous to anyone else? What do they think happens to jobs when businesses go under?
9.16.2009 9:46pm
Don de Drain:
In the latest poll, 47% of those responding agreed that poll questions were ambiguous or difficult to understand. The remaining 53% said they could not understand the questions being asked in the poll.
9.16.2009 10:26pm
byomtov (mail):
75 percent of poll respondents agreed with the statement that "The United States Constitution is an enduring document that remains relevant today" (up from 70 percent in 2008); while only 23 percent indicated agreement with the alternative view that "The United States Constitution is an outdated document that needs to be modernized."

Huh? Has the word "relevant" lost all meaning? Even if you believe, as I do, that the Constitution could use some changes, how can you possibly believe it's not "relevant today?" Surely the document that outlines the structure of our government is relevant, whether you like it or not.
9.16.2009 10:33pm
santa monica (mail) (www):
Geokstr


Anyone who says that the left is not charging anyone who disagrees with Obama with racism is either disingenous, dishonest, stupid or some combination of all three.


Frankly, you are lying. And in a transparent way that really hurts your credibility. Case in point . . . YOU.

You have made many anti-Obama statements. As have many people on this site. As far as I can tell (and I am willing to be corrected), no one is accusing you yet of being a racist. You are making arguments that I think are often false, but that is not the same as racism, of course. If you start calling Obama a nigger, then I will call you a racist.

According to your thesis, we'd all (well all Liberals and/or Dems) be calling you a racist. But that hasn't happened to you. How is that possible? And what about the dozens and dozens and dozens of other conservatives, et al who have sharply criticized Obama and his policies here. Why haven't we been calling all of them racists?

Sorry, it just doesn't fly. As hard as it may be for you to accept; it's just fine with us for you to flame away. And as long as you don't say anything racist, you will be safe from that label. Just because you are intolerant does not mean that your opposite side suffers from that malady.
9.16.2009 11:17pm
yankee (mail):
Huh? Has the word "relevant" lost all meaning? Even if you believe, as I do, that the Constitution could use some changes, how can you possibly believe it's not "relevant today?" Surely the document that outlines the structure of our government is relevant, whether you like it or not.

Certainly! I would support some enormous structural changes to the Constitution (eliminate the Senate, eliminate the Electoral College, broaden the grounds for removing the President) but I still think the Constitution is "enduring" and "relevant." It's been around for over two centuries (enduring) and is the foundational document of the U.S. government (relevant). So to me those choices are 100% consistent.
9.16.2009 11:37pm
Sarcastro (www):
santa monica is clearly not a true member of the left, but only a 'useful idiot.' It's only the real, actual liberals who are playing the race card all the time.
9.16.2009 11:42pm
Angus:
geokstr,
You are free to have your own horribly slanted, fact-free media if you so choose. Just don't act shocked when people refuse to take it seriously.
9.16.2009 11:51pm
Psalm91 (mail):
Geo:

I too saw Mark Williams on CNN with Martin and Anderson. I think he said Obama was "an Indonesian thug". Any problem with that?
9.17.2009 12:38am
ChrisTS (mail):
There are people who specialize in framing survey questions that elicit meaningful repsonses.

Then, there are those who specialize in framing questions that produce the results they want.

I recall a 'survey' of 3 questions presented inside TV Guide years back; I believe they were along the lines of:

1) Do you want your children to become drug adddicts?
2) DO you hate the United States of America?
3) Do you want armed criminals invading your home?

My answers were: NO! NO! and NO! When I opened the 'results' of the survey, I discovered that I really wanted to send money to Jerry Falwell.
9.17.2009 12:42am
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
I visited the NCC back in May of this year and spoke to several of the staff, including one involved in the polls. I complained about the quality of the questions, and he admitted they were bad, but they felt they were stuck with them as they wanted to be able to compare results from year to year to spot trends, and the results would not be comparable if they revised the questions.

He also explained that they had found that when they tried better questions, they didn't get more meaningful results, because the people they polled didn't understand them. He said the only result was to show the ignorance of the public, and bringing out that ignorance didn't really serve a particularly useful purpose.
9.17.2009 11:13am
Just Dropping By (mail):
Why on earth would the National Constitution Center be putting on a Princess Diana exhibit??

Paging Lyndon LaRouche! Paging Lyndon LaRouche!
9.17.2009 11:37am
cjwynes (mail):

In particular, 61% of Americans believe the rule of law should be followed, even if it comes at the expense of public safety.


I'd be curious about the gender breakdown of this. The link doesn't give any stats broken down demographically. Slightly more women than men took the poll, but I would expect a question like that to get much stronger agreement among men than women. Either that or I let all that claptrap about "soccer moms" back in the 90's seep too far into my brain.
9.17.2009 12:21pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
while only 23 percent indicated agreement with the alternative view that "The United States Constitution is an outdated document that needs to be modernized."
Turns out that all of these 23% of responses were Sandy Levinson, operating under various pseudonyms.
9.17.2009 9:36pm

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