Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate who refused public funding and raised money from private donors?
Do you favor or oppose public funding of Presidential campaigns?
Poll: Voters Prefer Presidential Candidate Who Rejects Public Funding
Senator Hillary Clinton (D) announced last week that she will reject public funding for her Presidential campaign and rely solely on private donors. Other leading candidates are expected to do the same. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 38% of American voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who rejects public funding and raises money on their own. Just 25% are less likely to vote for such a candidate while 28% say it will have no impact on their vote. Eight percent (8%) are not sure.
The survey contains more bad news for fans of public financing. Just 26% of voters favor public funding of Presidential campaigns while 54% are opposed. When asked if public funding should be provided for all Congressional and Senate elections, just 27% say yes.
Twenty-three percent (23%) believe it should be illegal for citizens to make contributions to political campaigns. Sixty-one percent (61%) disagree.
Voters clearly see campaign finance issues as just one part of a larger picture. A narrow plurality (35%) says that having friendly reporters is more important to winning a political campaign than raising a lot of campaign contributions. Just 30% believe contributions are more important while 30% are not sure.
Perhaps because many perceive that the mainstream media favors Democrats, Republicans are more likely to say that friendly reporters matter more than campaign contributions. Forty-one percent (41%) of the GOP faithful hold this view while 26% say that contributions matter more. Democrats are more evenly divided—30% say that friendly reporters are more important while 34% say it’s the money.
During Election 2004, voters tended to believe that CBS, ABC, NBC, and CNN were trying to help Kerry win the election. They also believed Fox News was trying to help Bush win.
Under current law, money to fund campaigns is made available through a voluntary check-off on individual income tax returns. Each person may designate $3 of their tax payment to help provide public funding of campaigns. The number of taxpayers who support public funding in this way has been declining steadily for decades. Now, even though it cost taxpayers nothing extra to provide this funding, only about one-out-of-ten Americans routinely. Michael Toner, a member of the Federal Elections Commission, observed that “When only 11 or 12% of the nation’s taxpayers are contributing …it’s very hard to conclude that the system has public support.”
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Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.