Survey: Campaign finance reform could be major 2012 issue

On the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, new polling reveals an increasing number of voters concerned about the role of money in politics.

According to a new survey from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, conducted for Democracy Corps, 62 percent of voters oppose the Court’s Citizens United ruling, which permitted unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions. And more than three-quarters of voters say they would like to see candidates make campaign finance reform a “key” issue in 2012.

Nearly 70 percent of Democrats said campaign finance reform will be an important factor in their vote this year, while 56 percent of Republicans said the same. A full two-thirds of independent voters cited reform as an important factor.

The GQRR poll found the majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents in agreement with the following statement: “Given what I see in the presidential race, I am fed up with big donors and secret money that controls which candidate we hear about. It undermines democracy.”    

The poll also found 60 percent of voters living in congressional districts picked up by Republicans in 2010 say reducing the influence of money in politics will be an important factor in their vote in 2012.

The poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points. Check out GQRR’s full memo and results here.   

The latest New York Times/CBS poll found similar voter sentiment when it comes to outside spending. The poll found 67 percent of respondents favor limiting ad spending by outside groups.   

From a messaging perspective, the real question in 2012 may be how President Obama and the eventual Republican nominee talk about the presence of Super PACs on the stump.

Super PAC spending has largely driven the campaign narrative in the early primary states, with big money spent on TV ads by outside groups supporting Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. At a debate in South Carolina, the two rivals got into a spat over the accuracy of Super PAC ads that have run in recent weeks attacking their records.   

Super PAC spending on the 2012 race has already topped $26 million. 

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Gene Silvers

More than half of what we have to do to fix what's wrong with this country, is pressure the politicians into implementing good-enough campaign spending limits and good-enough campaign contribution limits in enough of its election races.

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