Senate Legislative Process a Mystery to Many





The public has consistently expressed strong interest in the health care debate, but relatively few Americans can correctly answer two key questions related to the Senate's consideration of health care legislation.

In the latest installment of the Pew Research Center's News IQ Quiz, just 32% know that the Senate passed its version of the legislation without a single Republican vote. And, in what proved to be the most difficult question on the quiz, only about a quarter (26%) knows that it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster in the Senate and force a vote on a bill. The survey was conducted before Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown won a special election to the Senate on Jan. 19; Brown's election means Senate Democrats can no longer count on a 60-vote majority once he takes office....

As with most other questions on the news quiz, well-educated people, older Americans and men are more likely to correctly answer the questions about the Senate vote on health care and the filibuster.

Less than a third of Republicans or Democrats can correctly identify the number of votes needed to end a filibuster (30% among Republicans, 25% among Democrats).

College graduates fared better than other demographic groups on this question, but fewer than half of college graduates (45%) know that it takes 60 Senate votes to overcome a filibuster.

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