New Polling: Money in Politics is a Ballot Box Issue

"Money in politics is not a distraction from the economy, it is the economy."

Washington, D.C. — Swing voters are ready to strongly reward candidates that make money in politics a campaign issue and support alternatives to our current big money system, according to new polling released today by Democracy Corps, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and Public Campaign Action Fund. Voters — especially independents — support reforms that would limit big money, encourage small donors, and close the revolving door between government service and lobbying.

"Money and politics is increasingly becoming a ballot box issue. An overwhelming majority of Americans believe there should be common sense restrictions on the amount of money people can contribute to politics and voters--especially independents--will strongly support those who take the issue head-on," said Stan Greenberg, CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Co-Founder, Democracy Corps.

“People are fed up with business as usual in Washington. They’re tired of Wall Street bankers, corporate interests, and Big Oil calling the shots,” said David Donnelly, Executive Director of Public Campaign Action Fund. “They want Congress to act and they’ll reward those who do.”

Key Findings:

  • Money in politics is not a distraction from the economy, it is the economy. For ordinary Americans, this is not an either/or proposition; it is not question of addressing money in politics at the expense of talking about pocketbook problems. Voters believe that Washington is so corrupted by big banks, big donors, and corporate lobbyists that it no longer works for the middle class.
  • Voters feel strongly about reducing the influence of big money in politics and there is broad-based support to alternatives to the current system. Voters are supportive of small-donor matching systems with limited public financing and support common sense restrictions on what corporations and wealthy donors can spend on politics.
  • Voters will strongly support candidates — from both political parties — who seize this issue. Voters do not currently trust either party to tackle money in politics. All voters, and swing voters in particular, strongly support candidates who are willing to take on money in politics as a serious campaign issue. In fact, more than a third of all voters make this a litmus test for their support.

"The American people know that our economy and campaign finance system are connected. They know that a strong middle class and an economy that works for everyone requires elected officials who are not indebted to Wall Street bankers or corporate lobbyists,” said George Kohl, Senior Director at Communications Workers of America.

“Big Oil, Big Coal, and other massive corporations are spending hundreds of millions this year in a shameless attempt to buy the election, smear their opponents, and put their profits before clean air, clean water, and the health of American families,” said Tony Cani, Sierra Club National Political Director. “American voters have every right to be angry about this effort by a handful of billionaires to manipulate our democracy and this study shows they absolutely are. Strong majorities of Americans want our leaders to stand up to dirty energy companies and stand up for fair elections.”

The full polling memo is available at http://campaignmoney.org/files/may2012-pcaf-dcorps-memo.pdf and slides at http://campaignmoney.org/sites/default/files/May2012-Polling-Slides.pdf.

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Public Campaign Action Fund works to raise the voices of everyday people in our political process and holds politicians who are against comprehensive campaign finance reform accountable for where they get their political donations. Learn more at www.campaignmoney.org.