Rice-run poll: Houstonians favor term limits for elected officials, but willing to modify them

Jun 28, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Houstonians support term limits for the city's elected officials, but are willing to change the length of those limits, according to a new poll conducted by Rice University and its Center for Civic Engagement.

More than half of the respondents favored keeping the current limit of three two-year terms for Houston officials. However, after hearing a series of related questions on the effects of term limits, that support dropped to 39 percent. Only a tiny segment of Houstonians (2 percent) favored eliminating term limits altogether.

Following a 1991 referendum, Houston set the lifetime limit of three two-year terms for its elected officials, including the mayor, controller and all the members of city council.

The poll is based on interviews with 501 registered voters in Houston between April 26 and May 3. It has an error rate of plus or minus 4.5 percent. The survey was conducted for the City of Houston Term Limits Review Commission.

After initial questions on their support for term limits, poll respondents were presented with arguments for and against term limits and asked if they agreed or disagreed with each one. For example, 84 percent of Houstonians agreed that "term limits ensure that we'll get new people with fresh ideas coming into city office." But 61 percent also agreed that "with term limits forcing elected city officials out of office after a maximum of six years, and special interests now have too much power and influence at City Hall."

After answering questions on the strengths and weaknesses of term limits, the proportion of people who favored modifying the limit to two four-year terms rose from 24 percent to 36 percent. "This support for changing term limits prevails in spite of the fact that an overwhelming majority of voters support term limits, and their support of term limits is intense," said Robert Stein, Rice's Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of , who oversaw the poll.

Explore further: Less privileged kids shine at university, according to study

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

California reacts to sturgeon decline

Mar 22, 2006

California officials, having enacted emergency fishing rules to protect sturgeon, are considering long-term rules to become effective next year.

Houston: The face of America in the next 20 years

Apr 27, 2009

Houston is a reflection of where most of America's cities will be in the next 20 years, according to Stephen Klineberg, Rice University sociologist and director of the annual Houston Area Survey.

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Dec 18, 2014

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

Dec 18, 2014

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

How to teach all students to think critically

Dec 18, 2014

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.