An overwhelming majority of Americans would oppose changing the U.S. Constitution to allow naturalized citizens to become president. A CBS poll released Sunday shows that 75 percent are against any such changes, which would allow politicians like Arnold Schwarzenegger to run. Just 21 percent would agree to changing the rule that states only “natural born citizens” can serve in the nation’s highest office.
The rule has been subject to debate for years, with dispute over whether it means the person needs to have been born on U.S. soil, or that they simply had American citizenship at birth. The rule is largely agreed, however, as meaning that citizens who did not possess American nationality at birth cannot serve as president.
One notable beneficiary of such a change would be Schwarzenegger. The former governor of California was born in Austria, moved to the U.S. in 1968 and obtained citizenship in 1983.
Schwarzenegger began lobbying for the rule to be changed so that he could run in 2013, according to the New York Post’s Page Six. The change would have allowed Schwarzenegger to join the 2016 Republican presidential run, currently dominated by New York businessman Donald Trump.
Opposition to the rule is stronger with younger generations. Twenty-nine percent of those under 35 supported a change, while only 10 percent of over 65s supported change.
A majority of both conservatives and liberals also opposed dropping the rule, with 82 percent of conservatives against a change and 64 percent of liberals against. While just 13 percent of conservatives would be in favor of such a change, 32 percent of liberals would support it. Out of moderates, 76 percent opposed and 21 percent supported a change.