Money in Politics is a Ballot Box Issue


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The latest national survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Democracy Corps and Public Campaign Action Fund shows that voters care about money in politics and are prepared to vote for candidates who prioritize reform. All voters, and especially swing voters, support reforms that would limit big money, encourage small donors, and close the revolving door between government service and lobbying. Neither party currently owns this issue and with voters up for grabs, candidates who are willing to tackle money in politics could benefit at the ballot box.

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 a 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. A large majority (60 percent) says candidates ought to tackle money in politics in order to make government work for the middle class.
  • As a result, voters from both parties, but particularly swing voters, feel strongly about reducing the influence of big money in politics. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of all voters, and majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents, believe there should be common sense limits on the amount of money people can contribute to political campaigns. And a large majority (59 percent) is intensely committed to such limits. Voters do not believe that there are two equal sides to this debate; just a fifth (21 percent) of all voters say that limits on campaign contributions violate free speech.
  • 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.

Full Findings

April National Memo

April National Frequency Questionnaire

April National Graphs

Written by Stan Greenberg and James Carville, Democracy Corps; Erica Seifert, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner; and David Donnelly, Public Campaign Action Fund.