- Nearly 60% of Americans approve of the criminal-justice reform bill that the Senate passed Tuesday evening, according to a new INSIDER poll.
- The legislation is also backed by President Donald Trump, and would reform certain parts of the federal criminal-justice system, including harsh sentencing laws.
- Respondents to INSIDER’s poll were asked two nearly identical questions about the bill, but one version mentioned that the bill was supported by Democrats, Republicans, and President Donald Trump.
- But the responses to the questions were similar – in each case, a majority of respondents approved of the reforms.
The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a piece of once-in-a-generation legislation to reform the federal criminal-justice system – and the majority of Americans back the bill, according to a new INSIDER poll that ran on SurveyMonkey Audience from Dec. 14 to Dec. 16, 2018.
The First Step Act overhauls certain federal sentencing laws, including reducing mandatory minimum sentences for drug felonies and offering judges more room for discretion.
It also targets recidivism by emphasizing more rehabilitative services and job training opportunities, and includes reforms to how prisoners are treated, such as banning the shackling of pregnant inmates, halting the use of solitary confinement for most juvenile inmates, and mandating that prisoners be placed in facilities within 500 miles from their families.
The bill has been lauded as a rare bipartisan victory amid an otherwise rancorous Congress that has struggled to coalesce around most issues – and INSIDER’s poll shows that nearly 60% of people are on board with the reforms.
Respondents to INSIDER’s poll were asked two nearly identical questions about the bill – but one version mentioned that the bill was supported by Democrats, Republicans, and President Donald Trump.
For the question that mentioned the bipartisan support, nearly 32% of respondents said they “strongly approve” of the reforms, and nearly 29% said they “somewhat approve.”
Just 8% said they “strongly disapprove,” nearly 7% said they “somewhat disapprove,” and nearly 25% said they either didn’t know, or neither approved nor disapproved.
The responses were similar for the question that omitted the fact that the bill had received bipartisan support and Trump’s backing: 28% said they “strongly approve,” nearly 32% said they “somewhat approve,” and 8% and 9% said they “somewhat disapprove” and “strongly disapproved,” respectively.
SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. Total 1,136 respondents, margin of error plus or minus 2.97 percentage points with 95% confidence level.