Revolt Against Washington and Corrupted Politics

Partisanship drives most issues these days, but concern over the influence of money-in-politics is one of the few areas with the power to breakthrough the otherwise divisive national conversation in top battleground districts, according to new polling released today by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Public Campaign Action Fund.

“People of all backgrounds agree that Congress too often works for moneyed interests and against regular people,” said David Donnelly, executive director of Public Campaign Action Fund. “In next year’s most competitive districts, voters will reward politicians – regardless of political party – who take action to reform our broken campaign finance system.”
“Nobody likes Washington these days, but one issue that crosses partisan lines is money-in-politics, specifically, how do we fix our broken democracy,” said Stan Greenberg, president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. “Candidates in these competitive districts should pay attention.”

Key Findings:

  • This is an intensely anti-Washington period.  Voters’ optimism about the country direction and about their leaders in Washington has plummeted amid the backdrop of almost total dysfunction.  Voters are angry with the Congress at the center of the storm.
  •  Voters do not believe that either party is capable of cleaning up the mess in Washington.    When asked which party would do a better job “cleaning up the mess in Washington,” one in three battleground voters (28 percent) say neither—a striking number for a volunteered answer (an option not offered to respondents).  This creates a clear opening for those willing to run against the current system.
  • There are opportunities for both Democrats and Republicans to seize on reform. Voters believe Democrats are better than Republicans at “putting the people’s interests ahead of big moneyed interests,” but Republicans could set themselves apart from increasingly unpopular Congressional leadership.
  • There is no downside for either party to grab onto this issue and make it central to their campaigns.   Voters register almost no negative response to reform efforts—even those that would require significant public contributions to political campaigns.
  • And they strongly support serious and bold reforms.  A plan to replace the current system with one in which candidates would receive small donations with matched public funding receives broad support across districts.  And some of the strongest supporters are swing voters—the ones both parties will target in their campaigns next fall.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted a national survey of a unique survey of 1,250 likely 2014 voters in the most competitive Democratic and Republican Congressional districts in the country from October 19-24, 2013. For questions asked of all respondents, the margin of error = +/- 2.77% at 95% confidence. For questions asked just in Republican districts, the margin of error = +/- 3.58% at 95% confidence.  For questions asked in just Democratic districts, the margin of error = +/- 4.38% at 95% confidence.


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