As Americans recoil at the disastrous influx of money into our elections following the Citizens United decision and brace for the most expensive and likely the nastiest off-year campaign ever, a new poll shows overwhelming support for a constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics.
Every Voice, a new non-profit group, commissioned the poll of 1,000 likely voters in 12 Senate battleground states, where it found that 65 percent believe that the current campaign finance system is unacceptable. The poll also found that most voters have a negative view of super PACs and billionaire political donors and, more importantly, that voters understand that shadowy, big money donations buy influence in high places.
The poll shows wide support for a constitutional amendment to start fixing the system, with an overwhelming 73% of voters in favor. “Majorities across ideology, geography, gender, and age agree with the basic premise that this election is being bought,” the report concludes.
It’s worth special note that this strong support for action to clean up our elections is being found in battleground states, where the lion’s share of political money will be spent this year. More than $146 million already has been spent by groups unaffiliated with candidates on House and Senate races, with more than a quarter of that coming from anonymous donors.
This new data affirms sentiments that have been bubbling up across the country. In 2012, more than 70 percent of voters in Montana and Colorado formally instructed their representatives in Washington to pass an amendment overturning Citizens United. State legislators and local elected officials in 16 states and hundreds of localities from coast-to-coast have adopted pro-amendment resolutions, and in Washington the Senate is expected to vote on a proposed amendment after its August recess.
Meanwhile, public financing systems are up and running in Maine, Arizona, and Connecticut, with major public support from all political parties. And the Fair Elections Now Act, which would give congressional candidates the option of running on a mix of small donations and public funds, has been reintroduced in the Senate with 20 cosponsors. Common Cause is a long time fair elections supporter.
With such overwhelming support, reform is stalled only because our politicians are reluctant to give up their own big money donors. It’s time to hold our politicians to a higher standard and mobilize this massive support to clean up our elections.
(Full disclosure: Every Voice, formerly the Public Campaign Action Fund, leases office space from Common Cause.)
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics
Tags: Fighting Big Money