Democrats enjoy no advantage over Republicans when it comes to public opposition to big money in politics, but the issue resonates with key voting blocs, according to a new survey of voters in 54 battleground House districts.
“Candidates avoid this issue to their detriment,” said David Donnelly, executive director of the Public Campaign Action Fund, which backs a campaign finance overhaul. “There’s an incredible opportunity to be leaders on this issue, on what has become a leaderless field.”
The poll released today found that more than half of voters surveyed “overwhelmingly” believe that money corrupts politics, and 78 percent want Congressional candidates to propose ways to “dramatically reduce the amount of money in politics and super PACs.”
The poll was the third in a series by Public Campaign Action Fund and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted for the Democracy Corps, a nonprofit run by Democratic strategists James Carville and Stanley Greenberg.
A striking finding, Greenberg said, was that a full 43 percent of respondents said neither Democrats nor Republicans would do a better job “cleaning up corruption in Washington, D.C.,” an option not even offered by the poll, which instead asked voters to choose between the parties.
“I’m struck by the fact that the Democrats have no advantage on the question of changing the corruption in Washington,” said Greenberg, CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.
But Greenberg said linking policy issues to political corruption intensified voter responses, particularly among seniors, independents and suburban voters. For example, 55 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who backed the plan to partially privatize Medicare offered by GOP vice presidential candidate and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
But asked in a follow-up question whether they would vote for that candidate if he or she backed Ryan’s Medicare plan and “took thousands in campaign donations from insurance executives, lobbyists and PACs,” a full 70 percent of voters answered “less likely.”
“If you’re looking for an extra shot, this is where your extra shot is on that issue,” Greenberg said, describing the issue’s potential resonance in battleground House districts.