Citizens United Behind Common Sense Reforms

Citizens Actually United: The Bi-Partisan Opposition to Corporate Political Spending And Support for Common Sense Reform

According to a study by Liz Kennedy at Demos, Americans of all political backgrounds agree that there is way too much money in politics.

The survey explored Americans’ attitudes toward corporate political spending and found that they believe that it drowns out the voices of average Americans and corrupts our democratic government. It also found overwhelming support for strong, common sense reforms to ensure transparency and accountability for corporate political spending, should it occur, and for systemic solutions to the problem of the role of money in politics.


Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of specific steps to fix our broken system, all of which are achievable within current jurisprudential constraints:

Support For Strong Achievable Reforms

  • Third Party Disclosure: Over three-quarters of Americans (77%) favor a specific requirement that companies must publicly disclose their political expenditures to groups that spend money on politics like the Chamber of Commerce; 45 percent are very strongly in favor of this measure.31 Only 17 percent oppose this measure, which means the margin of Americans in favor of getting rid of dark corporate money is almost 60 points.
  • Small Donor Public Financing: Three-quarters of Americans (74%) favor a plan where candidates could run for Congress without raising large contributions because candidates would collect small contributions and receive limited public funds.32 Americans favor such a system by a margin of 56 percent – only 18 percent oppose it while over 38 percent are strongly in favor. Seven out of 10 Americans (72%) believe that politics would improve with public funding of Congressional campaigns instead of special interest spending.
  • Disclosure and Disclaimer: Almost three in four Americans (74%) favor a requirement that the name of the company and its CEO must appear in ads paid for by corporate political money, and 45 percent strongly favor that requirement.33 Only 21 percent oppose it. By a margin of 53 points Americans believe that the name of the company and its CEO must appear in ads paid for by corporate political money.
  • Shareholder Approval: Seven out of 10 Americans (71%) favor a requirement that shareholders in a company approve all corporate political spending before the money is spent.34 Forty percent strongly favor that measure, and only 23 percent oppose it. Americans approve of this measure by a margin of 48 points.

The complete outcomes of the survey are available below.

Demos National Survey on Corporate Political Spending and Reforms October 25, 2012

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