NYTimes: Polls Show Broad Support for Campaign Spending Caps


Even as the Supreme Court moved on Wednesday to remove limits on campaign donations, the public remains broadly supportive of them, surveys show.

A Gallup poll conducted in June found that 8 in ten Americans, if given the opportunity, would vote to limit the amount of money candidates for the Senate and the House of Representatives could raise and spend on their election campaigns.

Unlike the Supreme Court’s decision, which was split along ideological lines, the public’s views are cohesive. The poll found that broad majorities of all Americans, regardless of their political philosophy, party identification, age, education, sex or income level, preferred limits on campaign donations.

Likewise, a New York Times/CBS News poll in January 2012 found similar majority support across all demographic groups for limits to contributions. Over all, about two-thirds of Americans in that survey preferred contribution caps for individuals.

The questions in these polls did not address the specific issue of aggregate campaign contributions, which the Supreme Court struck down on Wednesday.

Public opinion on the issue appears to have remained steady over the past five years. Broad support for limits was the same in an Associated Press poll in August 2012 as well as in Times/CBS News polls conducted in 1999 and 2000.

The Gallup poll was conducted June 15 to 16, 2013, with 1,015 adults, and the Times/CBS News poll was conducted January 12 to 17, 2012, with 1,154 adults. Both polls have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

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