The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mary Boyle, Common Cause, (202) 736-5770
Adam Smith, Public Campaign, (202) 640-5593

New Polling: Voters Want Urgent Action To Reduce Special Interest Influence

Strong Bipartisan Support for Fair Elections Now Act


Voters want urgent action to reduce the influence of big money in our elections, their concern about the influence of donors remains unabated, and there is bipartisan support for legislation to reduce the influence of big money in U.S. House and Senate races, according to polling conducted by Lake Research Partners and commissioned by Public Campaign Action Fund and Common Cause.

Seventy-five percent of voters agree that the amount of money spent on political ads this year is a "real threat" to our elections and Congress. Three in four voters surveyed support the Fair Elections Now Act, legislation that would allow candidates to run for office by relying on small contributions from their home state.

"The electorate might seem more polarized than ever before, but there's one thing voters of all parties can agree on-Congress must address the big money and special interest influence in our political system," said Nick Nyhart, executive director of Public Campaign Action Fund. "When Congress returns for the post-election session later this month, they should immediately take up and pass the Fair Elections Now Act."

"As we watch power switch once again in Congress from one political party to the other, one thing stays the same: special interest money dominates," said Bob Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause. "We need to change the way we pay for political campaigns so Congress is not beholden to its big donors and the public interest is served."

Voters demand urgent action this year to curb the influence of money in our elections, according to the poll. Seventy-four percent of respondents said it was very or somewhat urgent for Congress "to take action this year to reduce the influence of wealthy special interests on our elections." This urgency crosses party lines, with 86% of Democrats, 77% of Independents, 60% of Tea Party supporters, and 66% of Republicans in agreement.

The Fair Elections Now Act passed the Committee on House Administration in September. If brought to the floor in the post-election session, the voters are in place for passage.

The full memo is available online at

The poll of 1,200 general election voters was conducted by Lake Research Partners using professional interviewers between October 31 and November 2, 2010.

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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