|By Megan Caska
Interim Director of Political Programs, RepresentUs
Reforms to increase access to the ballot, penalize corruption, and give voters real choices at the polls have long been broadly popular. Large majorities of Americans realize that we should be doing more, not less, to strengthen democracy.
A new poll from New York demonstrates that not only do voters support reform, but they will also vote for candidates who do, too. Let's dive in.
New Yorkers want change
The poll – commissioned by Unite NY – shows that New Yorkers are fed up with partisan bickering and corrupt politicians. The most popular reform among respondents was term limits for the state’s four major statewide elected officials: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and comptroller.
Overall, we weren't surprised to see that good government reforms are extremely popular. But we were excited to see how this poll confirms something we've believed for a long time: election reforms are not only popular, but are supported across party lines.
Majorities of New Yorkers polled would be more likely to support candidates who favor abolishing dark money, back ranked choice voting, and support open primaries. Beyond that, the poll found that each of these reforms garnered broad support from Democrats, Republicans, and independents in every corner of the state. Importantly, a majority of respondents said each reform would make them feel more empowered!
Candidates should learn from these results
Here at RepresentUs, we love to see polling such as this. These results confirm what we hear when we speak to voters of all beliefs and backgrounds: The current political system benefits the political elite while leaving voters behind. In the past, we have looked at how:
- Power-hungry politicians have made it more difficult to enact ballot initiatives
- Dark money taints our elections;
- Ranked choice voting improves how campaigns are run ; and
- Open primaries break through partisan gridlock.
Not only are these reforms common sense, the above poll shows they are also popular! But too often, political incentives come at the expense of strengthening democracy. Politicians and candidates shouldn’t ignore the will of the people, especially to the benefit of their own party or themselves.
These poll results foretell a warning for candidates: oppose pro-democracy reforms at your own risk. Not only are they popular, voters feel empowered by them. This means they are more likely to not only support a candidate who runs on these reforms; they might work even harder to vote out politicians who oppose them. Being on the wrong side of an empowered anti-corruption movement should come with consequences, and a growing majority agrees.
Right now, the two major parties have a monopoly influence on our politics, but that can change if people vote based on these structural reform issues. Sign up below to join our pro-democracy movement!
Contributors: Nolan Bush, RepresentUs Writer; Anh-Linh Kearney, Research Analyst