Want Independent Redistricting Commission
Raleigh, N.C. – According to the latest Civitas Institute poll, a majority of voters in North Carolina reject a proposed bill that has made its way before the N.C. House and Senate that calls for changing the length of General Assembly member terms from two years to four years.
Legislation has been introduced in both chambers (HB 71 and SB 119) calling for a Constitutional Amendment to be placed in front of voters enacting that General Assembly members serve four-year terms.
“The public’s reaction to changing legislative terms from two to four years is best summed up in a quote attributed to Mark Twain; ‘Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason,’” said Executive Director of the Civitas Institute Francis De Luca. .
According to the live caller poll of 600 voters, 59 percent think legislative terms should not exceed two years, while 33 percent preferred four years. Eight percent of respondents were not sure about the change.
“Whether it is a four or two year-term is practically meaningless for many legislators since an overwhelming majority of legislators face token candidates or no opposition at all, because of gerrymandered districts,” said De Luca. “For them, elections are mere formalities to serving in office.”
Voters were also asked whether legislators should continue to be able to draw their own district boundaries or should the process of redistricting be turned over to an independent commission. Fifty-five percent of voters thought it was best to establish an independent redistricting commission.
“From public financing to four-year terms to not improving the redistricting problem in North Carolina, it appears many legislators are more interested in protecting their ability to get re-elected rather than be held accountable to the voters,” added De Luca. “Every year it seems we get some new incumbent protection scheme thought up by the General Assembly despite overwhelming objections from the public.”
Full text of questions:
“Currently, members of the North Carolina General Assembly are elected every two years. There has been a bill introduced to change the term so they are elected every four years. Do you think North Carolina legislators should be elected every two years or every four years?”
2 years- 59%
4 years- 33%
Not sure- 8%
“Should the General Assembly be responsible for drawing their own election districts or should the state establish an independent redistricting commission to draw legislative election districts?”
Draw own district – 24%
Establish a commission – 55%
Not Sure – 21%
The Civitas Poll is the only monthly live-caller poll of critical issues and policies facing North Carolina.
The study of 600 registered voters was conducted Feb.16-19, 2009. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered voters in North Carolina. For purposes of this study, voters we interviewed had to have voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.
The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.
If you would like more information regarding this topic or to schedule an interview with Chris Hayes, please contact Gabe Dellinger at 919.747.8065 or Gabe.Dellinger@nccivitas.org.