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NYT-CBS poll shows near-universal concern over money in politics

As you may have seen in today's New York Times, a NYT-CBS poll finds 84% of adults "think that money has too much influence in American political campaigns" and similar numbers support limiting the size of campaign contributions, curbing outside spending, and strengthening disclosure requirements. Although 58% of respondents express pessimism that the situation can be improved, that is a marked improvement over the 91% expressing cynicism in our 2013 poll. A summary of the poll's major findings is provided below.


BOTTOM LINE: Americans of all political persuasions, genders, and income levels agree that our campaign finance system is broken. But in order to make progress, rather than concentrating on the negative impact money has on our political process, we need to focus on meaningful solutions to the problem.

  • More than 8 in 10 of Americans believe that there is too much money in American political campaigns. According to the poll, 84 percent of adults—including 90 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans—think that money has too much influence in American political campaigns. Even the richest Americans agreed: 85 percent of adults making $100,000 or more believe money has too much influence in the election process.

  • More than three-fourths of people support limiting individual campaign contributions. The poll found that 77 percent of adults favor limiting the amount of money individuals can contribute to political campaigns. Eighty percent of Democrats, 71 percent of Republicans, and 76 percent of Independents favor contribution limits.

  • Two-thirds of Americans think the wealthy have more influence than everyone else. According to the poll, 66 percent of adults—including 73 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Republicans—believe that wealthy Americans have more of a chance to influence the elections process than other Americans.

  • Almost 8 in 10 of Americans think campaign spending by outside groups should be limited. The poll found that 78 percent of adults—including 85 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of Republicans—think that spending by groups not affiliated with a candidate should be limited by law.

  • Three quarters of people think outside groups should be required to publicly disclose their contributors. According to the poll 75 percent of adults believe that groups not affiliated with a candidate that spend money during political campaigns should be required to publicly disclose their contributors. Democrats and Republicans agree on this issue—76 percent of adults from each party believe that contributors to outside groups should be required to publicly disclose their contributors.

  • More than half of Americans are pessimistic that campaign finance laws will be improved. Nearly six in ten (58 percent) adults said they are pessimistic that changes will be made to improve the way political campaigns are funded.


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