Skip to main content

Pew: Republicans Back Campaign Spending Limits

Turns out Republicans are almost as concerned with the "dark money" fueling all those PAC and Super PAC campaign ads as Democrats are, at least according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

The poll found that 72% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say there should be limits on campaign spending, compared to 84% of Democrats.

Even 69% of self-described conservative Republicans or "leaners" say there should be limits.

And a majority of Republicans (58%) agree that new laws limiting "the role of money in politics" would be helpful.

Republican members of Congress, with the help of a few Democrats, have consistently blocked legislative efforts to limit spending on campaigns and boost on-air dark money disclosures in the wake of Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that corporations and unions can directly fund electioneering ads — ones advocating the election of a specific candidate — in the run-up to federal primaries and general elections. It has helped put more money in broadcast coffers, but has been attacked by reformers for giving big corporations too much influence over elections.

Pew found that opinions of Congress are overwhelmingly negative, with two thirds (69%) of the survey respondents saying they have an unfavorable view.

Perhaps given the conservative Republican disaffection with their own party, it should not come as a surprise, but fewer Republicans have a favorable view of the Republican-controlled Congress (23%) than do Democrats (31%), the first time in two decades of polling that the majority has gotten lower marks from its members than from the minority party, said PEW.

The majority of the survey was based on a telephone poll Aug. 27-Oct. 4, 2015 among a sample of 6,004 adults, 18 and over.

The margin of error for the entire survey is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. For the Democrats/leaners and Republicans/leaners, the margin is 2.2 percentage points.

(Photo via Ervins Strauhmanis's FlickrImage taken on Sept. 19, 2014 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.