Majority of Democratic, Republican voters support key antitrust bills: poll

A new poll found overwhelming support from voters in both parties for two key antitrust bills that are facing a dwindling deadline to pass this year. 

The survey of registered voters was conducted by Edison Research for the Tech Oversight Project, a group pushing for antitrust reform that is primarily funded by the Omidyar Network and the Economic Security Project. The poll asked voters about their support for two proposals that target the market power of dominant tech firms. 

Asked about the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, a bipartisan bill that would limit tech giants from preferencing their own products and services over rivals’, nearly 73 percent of respondents said they lean towards supporting the bill. 

The proposal, sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support earlier this year but has yet to be called for a floor vote. 

Asked about the Open App Markets Act, a bill that targets dominant app stores, more than 74 percent of respondents said they would lean toward supporting the legislation. 

The app store bill, led by Klobuchar and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), also advanced out of the committee with broad bipartisan support. But it has not been called for a floor vote either, despite ongoing pressure from supporters for leadership to call both bills to a vote 

The support for the bills in the poll was fairly split among Democratic and Republican voters. Nearly 76 percent of Democrats said they support the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, as did roughly 70 percent of surveyed Republicans, according to the poll 

Support for the Open App Markets Act had a similar breakdown, with nearly 78 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of Republicans saying they support the proposal, according to the poll. 

The poll surveyed 1,307 Americans online who reported that they will “definitely” or “probably” vote in the 2022 general election. The poll ran from July 12 to July 15 and the margin of error is 3 percent.

Versions of the bills advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee more than a year ago.

Lingering concerns among Democrats are threatening the chance of the bills moving forward this year before lawmakers leave for recess — and before the upcoming midterm elections may change the controlling party in one or both chambers.  

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) reportedly told donors the American Choice and Innovation Online Act is a “high priority” but that the Senate does not have the 60 votes it needs to pass it, according to a Bloomberg report from earlier this week. 

But the sponsors of the bills remain steadfast in their position that the bills have the votes to pass. 

Klobuchar told Bloomberg in a statement, referring to Schumer and the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, “we were promised a vote on this bill and we take him at his word.” 

Last month four Senate Democrats asked Klobuchar to revise a portion of the bill they said could have unintended consequences that would limit companies’ ability to moderate violative content.

The bill has also faced criticism from the California delegation, in the House and Senate, the state home to most of the tech giants. 

Klobuchar and Grassley, along with the bill’s House sponsors Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.), have fiercely defended the legislation against concerns, dismissing most criticism as being fueled by the tech industry.