SOURCES OF SUPPORT FOR LEGISLATIVE TERM LIMITATIONS IN THE STATES

Malcolm E. Jewell

Abstract


In the elections of 1990 and 1992 the voters in 15 states approved initiatives imposing term limits on the state legislatures, by margins ranging from 77 to 52 percent. The purpose of this paper is to explain why the term limit initiatives passed and what factors may have caused variations among the states in the level of support. Among the factors considered are the characteristics of the legislatures and the strictness of the proposed limitations, as well as several aspects of the campaigns: the sources of support from within or outside the state, sources of opposition, the role of media, and differences in opinion and voting patterns of various groups in the state. The most important factor appears to have been how extensive an effort was made by opponents of term limitations.


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