Survey Finds 64% of Voters Support Fair Elections

Survey finds broad, bipartisan support for legislation to reduce the role of big money in Congressional races

A recent Lake Research Partners survey conducted during Election Week (Sunday to Tuesday) among 1,200 general election voters shows broad, bipartisan support for proposed legislation to reduce the role of big money in U.S. Senate and House races. This support is fueled by the concern these voters have over the role money played in the recent election.

Key Highlights

  • The Fair Elections Now Act is supported by almost two-thirds of voters.  The proposal, summarizing the Fair Elections Now Act currently before Congress (text below), is supported by 64% of voters (44% “strongly”) with just 20% opposed and 15% undecided.
  • Support is strong across party lines.   Even in a highly polarized election, support for Fair Elections is solid across all parties.  It is supported by overwhelming margins among:
    • Democrats (75% support to 9% oppose);
    • Independents (66% support to 16% oppose);
    • Republicans (55% support to 32% oppose);
  • Most voters see the amount of money spent on political ads this year as a “real threat” to our elections and Congress.  By a wide margin, 75% of voters agree (including 58% strongly agree) with the following statement: 

    “The amount of money being spent this year on political campaign ads by candidates, political parties, and outside groups poses a real threat to the fairness of our elections and the ability of Congress to get results on our most important issues.”

    Agreement for this statement is strong across party lines with 86% of Democrats in agreement, 76% of independents, and 64% of Republicans.

  • Voters demand urgent action this year to curb the influence of money in our elections.  Just under three out of four voters (74%) say it is very or somewhat urgent for Congress “to take action this year to reduce the influence of wealthy special interests on our elections.”  Again, there is strong agreement across party lines (Democrats 86% very/somewhat urgent”, independents 77%, Republicans 62%).
  • When it comes to taking action, voters narrowly prefer the Fair Elections approach to the DISCLOSE ACT approach.  In the survey we asked which of two approaches (full wording below) would they favor more to address the problem of spending and political contributions to candidates.  The Fair Elections approach is favored by 43% of voters compared to 36% for the DISCLOSE approach.
  • Support for Fair Elections is substantial even among Tea Party supporters because they too see the threat of an election system awash with money.  Tea Party supporters favor Fair Elections 49% to 35%, a strong double-digit margin for such a conservative group.  A majority of them agree (63% agree) with the statement about the threat posed by the amount of money spent on political ads this year.  A majority of Tea Party supporters (60%) also say it is urgent for Congress to take action this year to curb the influence of wealthy interests.

Lake Research Congressional Fair Elections Survey November 4, 2012

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