Reducing the Influence of Money in Politics
My team and I at Lake Research Partners conducted significant research on behalf money in politics organizations, such as Public Citizen, to better understand public perceptions towards reducing the influence of money following the Citizens United ruling. The research focused on three important aspects: how to overturn Citizens United, the implementation of a "People's Pledge" in elections, and IRS political rule-making.
An Amendment to Overturn Citizens United
Our research found solid opposition to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and support for a constitutional amendment to overturn it. Importantly, the arguments made against the amendment are unconvincing to voters. The issue of reducing the influence of money in politics is very important to voters, who are ripe for reform.
A copy of our polling memo on overturning Citizens United can be found here.
Implementing a "People's Pledge": Agreement by Candidates to Curb Avalanche of Outside Spending
Our research also found strong bipartisan support among voters for agreements by candidates to curb the influence of outside spending in their campaigns. Nearly half of voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who signs such an agreement. Voters are particularly supportive of such agreements because they make politicians more accountable to voters.
Under one such agreement, candidates agree that if an outside group purchases any broadcast, print or online ad on behalf of a candidate, that candidate will donate a percentage of the ad’s cost to a charity of the opposing candidate’s choice.
A copy of our polling memo on the "People's Pledge" research can be found here.
IRS Political Rule-Making
Finally, our research found that voters think having clear rules in place concerning the political activities of non-profit organizations is an important issue. Voters also support a proposal to establish more clear and fair rules and standards. Importantly, voters support the changes by a 2:1 margin even when faced with the opposition’s argument that these rules are a way for the IRS to limit free speech.
A copy of our polling memo on IRS Political Rule-Making can be found here.
Some press coverage of the research:
- "Majority of Americans Want Money Out of Politics," Moyers & Company
- "Right or wrong, public has dark opinion of ‘dark money’ in elections," Cronkite News
- "Poll Shows Strong Bipartisan Support for Agreement by Candidates to Curb Avalanche of Outside Spending," press release from Public Citizen