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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Outside Money, Dark Money, and Public Opinion

The New York Times offers a video on dark money in political campaigns:

 Do real voters care? Not really.

Chris Cillizza explains:
There are two seemingly contradictory data points in a new New York Times-CBS national poll.
1. 84 percent of people -- 80 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats -- believe money has too much influence in American politics.
2. Less than 1 percent of people said money in politics or campaign fundraising was the most important issue facing the country.
There's a huge difference between prompted intent and unprompted action.
And, this isn't just a theoretical argument based on a handful of poll numbers. Think back to the last two midterm election in 2010 and 2014. In each, Democrats -- from the White House on down -- insisted that Republicans' reliance on big money donors would be punished by the voting public. Harry Reid went to the Senate floor time and time again during the summer and fall of 2014 to blast the Koch brothers for their alleged attempts to buy the vote.
You'll remember what happened in both of those elections: BIG Republican victories. Those across-the-board GOP wins didn't come solely from the Democrats' focus on campaign finance issues, obviously, but it's also obvious that attempts to make the 2010 and 2014 elections referenda on big (Republican) money in politics just didn't work.
The simple fact is that outside of committed campaign finance reform advocates -- a single-digit percentage of the overall population -- getting big money out of politics simply isn't a voting priority for the vast, vast majority of Americans.