Americans’ Views on Money in Politics

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a national survey of 1,011 adults using AmeriSpeak to gauge the public’s views on campaign finance.

Most Americans say campaign contributions directly influence politicians, yet there is little encouragement from the public to change the current system. The latest Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds tepid backing for limits on campaign fund raising and spending, and strong attitudes against using the tax payers’ money to fund campaigns. The public favors the current system of campaign funding—candidates raising money through donations. But when asked specifically about political action committees, Americans are less enthusiastic.

The nationwide poll of 1,011 adults used AmeriSpeak, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Interviews were conducted between November 12 and November 17, 2015, online and using landlines and cell phones.

Three Things You Should Know
From The AP-NORC Center’s Poll on Campaign Finance
Among all American Adults:

  1. More than 80 percent of the public, regardless of party identification, say campaign contributions directly influence the decisions of elected officials, and half say the influence is large.
  2. The public is divided on whether campaign contributions are a form of free speech:  50 percent say yes and 48 percent say no.
  3. Sixty percent say compelling the disclosure of all campaign contributors would be effective in reducing the influence of money in politics.