New Battleground Poll: Super PACs intensely unpopular and corrupting; voters will hold candidates accountable for working for donors

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Washington, D.C.—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.

“The verdict is in: voters in the most competitive congressional districts have seen what an unfettered system of campaign spending looks like—and they don’t like it,” said David Donnelly, executive director of Public Campaign Action Fund. “Voters know big money corrupts our political system and they are thirsty for a plan from any candidate of any party to restore sanity.”

“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,” said Stan Greenberg, CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Co-Founder, Democracy Corps.

Key Findings:

  • 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.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted the survey for Democracy Corps and Public Campaign Action Fund with 1,000 likely voters in the 54 most competitive Republican-held House districts, which are available at the end of the polling memo.

Download the full memo.

Download the slides with charts.


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