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South Carolinians Favor Article V Convention of States
Voters Overwhelmingly Dissatisfied with Federal Government
January 10, 2014 - Columbia, SC: Three quarters of South Carolina voters are dissatisfied with the performance of the federal government and a large majority favor an Article V Convention of States to course-correct Washington.
The South Carolina statewide poll was conducted January 2-6, 2014. The survey included 1264 voters that mirrored the state's political make up, general voting profile and geography.
75% Are Dissatisfied with Washington DC
When asked how 'satisfied' they are with the overall performance of the federal government, only 18% of South Carolinians say they are 'satisfied'. That compares to 75% who are 'dissatisfied'. The intensity of the dissatisfaction is extremely high with 60% voting they are 'very dissatisfied'. Seven percent had no opinion.
By a three-to-one margin South Carolinians believe the federal government, including Congress and the Executive and Judicial branches, has exceeded its Constitutional authority. Sixty one percent 'agree' that Washington is overstepping its legal bounds compared with 21% who 'disagree'. Sixteen percent had no opinion.
Convention of State Legislation
Legislation has been pre-filed in both the South Carolina House of Representatives (H.4372) and Senate (S.830) calling for an Article V Convention of States (COS) for the express and sole purpose of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. Virginia and Florida have filed identical legislation and a number of other states are preparing legislation in this national movement.
7 in 10 Voters Favor a Convention of States
The South Carolina poll asked citizens their views on the Convention of States initiative. Overall, 71% favor the approach when it is explained.
In the first of two questions, when asked if South Carolina should join other states in calling for a Convention of States, 32% were in favor, 32% opposed and 36% were undecided.
Because the COS initiative is a new concept to many voters, a second question was asked of those who opposed or undecided in the first question. The initiative was further defined with this question: "Would you support South Carolina's call for a Convention of States if the purpose was to establish term limits for members of Congress and a balanced budget amendment for the federal government." The explanation of specific potential amendments resulted in a majority giving their support. Of those who were previously opposed or undecided, 58% favored the Convention of States, 17% opposed and 25% remained undecided.
Rep. Bill Taylor (R-Aiken), the primary sponsor of the Convention of States legislation in the S.C. House, said, "I'm thrilled that so many South Carolinian's from across the political spectrum support the Article V Convention of States initiative. Very few issues poll as high as 71%. That number will grow as more people become familiar with this constitutional opportunity." Taylor added, "We have only begun the grassroots effort to educate citizens that COS is the safest, legitimate and most effective means to solve the problems in Washington. Fortunately, our Founders knew the federal government might one day be too large, too powerful and unwilling to curtail itself that they specifically inserted Article V in the Constitution giving states a lawful and orderly mechanism to restrain a runaway federal government."
South Carolinians' dissatisfaction with the federal government evidenced in this survey mirrors the recent AP-NORC national poll showing 70% of Americans lack confidence in the government's ability "to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014."
Dr. Michael Farris, the well-known constitutional litigator and head of the national Convention of States Project, responded to the survey results, "South Carolinians have shown their good judgment and common sense in two ways. First, they understand that Washington DC is broken and will never voluntarily relinquish any power. Second, they believe that it is time to use the very process the Founders gave us to stop federal power grabs. A Convention of States is the only solution that is big as the problem."
South Carolina is taking a lead in the Convention of States initiative that states that if two-thirds of the States submit an application to Congress, Congress must call a Convention of States for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution. Each state sends an appointed delegation to the convention, where the states discuss and vote upon amendment proposals. A Convention of states can only propose amendments. By itself, it cannot change one word of the Constitution. Each state represented in a convention would have only one vote on any proposed amendments to the United States Constitution. Any amendment coming out of an Article V Convention of States would still require 3/4ths of the states (38) to actually become part of the Constitution. Conversely, it would only take 13 states to thwart any amendment proposal. This is a rigorous process that by design, will take a lot of agreement among a lot of states. The process is identical to the process used for all 27 existing amendments to the Constitution with the notable difference that proposed amendments will come from the states rather than Washington D.C.
Rep. Taylor, a former media researcher, sponsored the survey that was conducted by True South Communications during the first few days of January.
Said Taylor, "It is vitally important to seek citizens' input into the legislative process. My goal in conducting this research was to understand the level of support the Convention of States initiative has among South Carolinian's. In only a month since the legislation was pre-filed, it's clear we are on the right path and support will continue to grow as more people understand that our Founders intentionally gave us a remedy in Article V of the Constitution."