85% of Americans Think Campaign Finance Needs Overhaul (CBS/NYT)

Jun 2, 2015

Republicans in the poll were almost as likely as Democrats to favor further restrictions on campaign donations.

A June 2015 poll by the New York Times and CBS found that "Americans of both parties fundamentally reject the regime of untrammeled money in elections made possible by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and other court decisions and now favor a sweeping overhaul of how political campaigns are financed."

The results are unsurprising, confirming trends we have seen on similar questions for years, including strong bi-partisan agreement on the problem of money in elections as well as solutions despite strong opposition from Republicans in Congress. Strong polling support for solutions among Republicans is reflected in the large numbers of Republican state legislators championing reform.

  • 85% think the system for funding political campaigns needs "fundamental changes" or that "we need to completely rebuild it."
  • More than four in five say money plays too great a role in political campaigns, while two-thirds say that the wealthy have more of a chance to influence the elections process than other Americans.
  • Three-quarters of self-identified Republicans support requiring more disclosure by outside spending organizations.
  • Republicans in the poll were almost as likely as Democrats to favor further restrictions on campaign donations. 77% support limiting the amount of money individuals can contribute to political campaigns
  • 54% do not believe money given to political candidates to be a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, confirming similar results from a 2014 YouGov/HuffPost poll.

The poll also identified the pessimism that has long been the sector's biggest opposition for reform. "More than half of those surveyed said they were pessimistic that campaign finance rules would be improved. (Republicans and independents expressed more pessimism, while Democrats were evenly divided.)" This result only confirms the importance of solutions-based messaging that positions our growing movement on the winning side of history that will build a more inclusive democracy where every voice is heard. Reiterating the problem, especially using the corruption frame, only hardens Americans already deep seated pessimism.

Additionally, some, including the Washington Post, will latch on to the fact that "less than one percent volunteered campaign fundraising as the most important issue facing the country." Yet Gallup's monthly index of "most important problem" has found that "government" has been the most common answer for four consecutive months. Many of the problems cited by Americans in the NYT/CBS reflect Americans concerns that government isn't listening to them on these issues.

Read the full New York Times and CBS articles.

See complete poll results.

Date Released

Jun 2, 2015

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Poll Shows #Republicans and #Democracts Favor Sweeping Overhaul of Campaign Financing nyti.ms/1BGvlbC #tcot #tlot #p2
85% of Americans want to fundamentally change the way we fund elections. http://ow.ly/NLzOT #GetMoneyO