Most Americans Support PACs, Oppose Federal Campaign Funding: Poll
Americans have a diverse set of views regarding how to pay for political campaigns, and several of those views are at odds with the conventional wisdom.
According to the 2013 Public Affairs Pulse survey, the public is overwhelmingly opposed to using federal tax dollars to fund political campaigns, a frequently expressed goal of campaign finance reform groups. Many are also opposed to so-called Super PACs pouring money into elections.
Instead, Americans favor candidates spending their own money, individuals making personal contributions and regulated political action committees (PACs) providing funding.
- A significant number of Americans (89%) believe a candidate’s personal contributions should be at least a minor source of funding for political campaigns. Two-thirds of the public (65%) say these contributions should be a major source.
- Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to using public financing to fund political campaigns. Fully two-thirds of the public (65%) think federal tax dollars should not be used at all as a source of funding. And only 20 percent say tax dollars should be a minor source.
- Americans are wary of Super PACs: Half of Americans (50%) do not think they should be a source of campaign funding. Less than one-fifth of the public (16%) say Super PACs should be a major source of election dollars, while less than one-third (30%) say they should be a minor source.
- Seven in ten Americans (73%) are supportive of the role of political action committees under the current limit of $5,000 per candidate per election. Thirty-four percent believe PACs should be a major source of campaign funding.
- Seventy-nine percent think individual contributions should be at least a minor source of funding, while 44 percent say they should be a major source.
The survey, conducted for the Council May 8-23, 2013, by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, is based on telephone interviews with 1,604 adults living in the continental United States. Results based on all respondents are subject to a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
To learn more, or to access the full results of the 2013 Public Affairs Pulse survey, click here.