Voters in battleground congressional districts are intensely concerned about the corruption of our democratic system by big donations and during this partisan season, money-in-politics is one issue that crosses party lines, according to new polling conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and released today by Democracy Corps and Public Campaign Action Fund.
Here's what it shows: voters in the most competitive congressional districts have seen what an unfettered system of campaign spending looks like—and they don’t like it. Voters know big money corrupts our political system and they are thirsty for a plan from any candidate of any party to restore sanity.
And, as pollster Stan Greenberg said in the press release, "The incumbents in these districts are vulnerable and their opponents would be wise to run against them by linking their policies to special interest cash and championing reform and transparency."
Here are the key points:
- By more than a two-to-one margin, voters believe there is a corrupting quid pro quo at stake in big campaign donations to Super PACs. More than half of all voters favor replacing large political donations with small donations and limited public funding, and it measured strongly (62.9) on a thermometer scale. Voters choose limiting Super PACs and small-donor public financing over getting “government out of the business of regulating how people contribute” by a two-to-one margin (60-30 percent).
- Voters will take this to the ballot box for candidates who are willing to run against big money. By an overwhelming 58-point margin (78 percent to 20 percent) voters say it is important that their candidates for Congress come up with a plan to dramatically reduce the amount of money in politics and Super PACs.
- Voters believe big money has an impact on policy choices and they are willing to punish candidates who put big funders’ interests ahead of voters. Specifically, taking insurance money and voting for the Ryan budget that turns Medicare into a voucher program is strikingly powerful in persuading voters of all political stripes.
- Two thirds (64 percent) say our current system undermines democracy because big donors and secret money control which candidates we hear about. By contrast, just 29 percent believe that in the end it is the voters who get to decide.