Political Campaign Finance and Citizens United

BREAKING: A New York Times/CBS News poll reported on by the Times today shows a huge majority of Americans of all political leanings “now favor a sweeping overhaul of how political campaigns are financed.” 1

Further, Americans are in fierce disagreement with the Supreme Court’s reasoning in decisions like Citizens United.

This poll is MONUMENTAL because of how overwhelming the numbers are.

Are changes needed to the way political campaigns are funded in the United States?

Only minor changes = 13%

Fundamental changes = 39%

Completely rebuild = 46%

No changes needed =

This poll reiterates in the strongest terms yet that the entire country — even conservatives — are with us on the issue.

Some key findings:

  • “The responses suggest a growing divide between the nation and its highest court on constitutional questions that have moved to the heart of the American system…”
  • “More than four in five Americans say money plays too great a role in political campaigns, the poll found, while two-thirds say that the wealthy have more of a chance to influence the elections process than other Americans.”
  • And perhaps most striking of all: “Those concerns — and the divide between Washington elites and the rest of the country — extend to Republicans.”

“Three-quarters of self-identified Republicans support requiring more disclosure by outside spending organizations, for example, but Republican leaders in Congress have blocked legislation to require more disclosure by political nonprofit groups, which do not reveal the names of their donors. “Republicans in the poll were almost as likely as Democrats to favor further restrictions on campaign donations, even as some prominent Republicans call for legislation to eliminate existing caps on contributions.”

From one poll respondent in a follow-up interview:

“I think it’s an obscene thing the Supreme Court did,” Terri Holland, 67, a former database manager who lives in Albuquerque, said in a follow-up interview. “The old-boy system is kind of dead, but now it’s the rich system. The rich decide what’s going to happen because the Supreme Court allows PACs to have civil rights.”