Poll Shows Overwhelming Support of Campaign Finance and Ethics Reforms

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  • Viki Harrison

A poll of registered voters statewide taken by Research and Polling for Common Cause New Mexico from January 9 to January 13 shows voters are wary of lobbyists and anonymous contributors and support campaign finance and ethics reforms.  Approximately 450 randomly selected voters – both Republicans and Democrats – responded to telephone survey, which has a 4.5% margin of error. 

“The results of this poll confirm what we’ve been saying for several years, namely that everyone deserves to know who is lobbying and paying for the campaigns of our elected officials, and everyone should be held accountable for their actions,” said Viki Harrison, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico.  

Among the top results: almost two thirds of the respondents say that New Mexico elected officials are more responsive to lobbyists than voters and want political contributions from individuals limited. Specifically, 

  • 64% say New Mexico’s elected officials are more responsive to lobbyists than voters; only 19% say they are more responsive to voters
  • 63% support limits on the amount of money individuals can contribute to candidates
  • 68% say contribution limits to candidates help prevent corruption  

Respondents clearly favored more transparency measures for candidates and lobbyists. 

  • 92% support requiring all large political contributions from individuals, corporations, PACs, nonprofits and unions be made public
  • 88% support a bill in this year’s session to require independent political groups to report their donors and how the money is being spent
  • 89% think it is a good idea to require lobbyists to make public the bills and issues they have been hired to lobby on

When it comes to public financing of campaigns, now in effect on the state level for the Public Regulation Commission, the state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court:

  • 76% support revising the system to prohibit unopposed candidates from receiving public funds
  • 61% want to change the system to provide matching funds to candidates who agree to raise only contributions under $100 
  • 50% want to expand the voluntary system to include candidates for other judicial races

In other results relating to bills in the 2015 session:

  • 86% favor an independent ethics commission
  • 82% support a two- year pause before legislators become paid lobbyists
  • 68% favor an independent redistricting commission to redraw district lines each decade, rather than legislators

Asked whether these issues were voting issues, 59% of respondents said they were more likely to support a candidate who pushes for campaign finance and ethics reforms.