Even Republicans Get It! There’s Too Much $$$ in Politics

June 2, 2015

A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows that Americans across the board recognize that big money has contaminated our politics.

A whopping 80 percent of Republicans agree that money has too much influence over our political campaigns (the overall figure is 84 percent).

And 73 percent of Republicans say spending on ads by unaffiliated groups should be limited (the overall figure is 78 percent).

What’s more, Republicans favored disclosure of contributions to unaffiliated groups at the same level as Democrats, with 76 percent of both groups favoring it.

Meanwhile, 55 percent of Republicans say the wealthy have more of a chance to influence elections than other Americans (the overall figure is 66 percent).

And 54 percent of Republicans agree that elected officials most often promote policies that directly help the individuals or groups that donated to their campaigns (the overall figure is 55 percent).

By a hair, more Republicans believe that giving money to candidates is not a form of free speech that should be protected by the First Amendment (49 percent said it is not; 48 percent it is). Overall, 54 percent of those polled agreed that it is not protected speech, while 41 percent believed it was protected speech.

These poll numbers show how out of step the U.S. Supreme Court is with the American public. The court, since Citizens United in 2010, has prohibited limits on spending by unaffiliated groups, and since Buckley v. Valeo in 1976, has asserted that giving money is speech.

These poll numbers also show how out of line Republican legislators are in Wisconsin, who are considering raising the amount of money that individuals can give to candidates and reducing disclosure of contributions to candidates and unaffiliated groups alike.