Public Support for Taking Money Out of Politics?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made news recently backing a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would reverse some of the recent decisions by the Supreme Court allowing unlimited contributions by corporations to political candidates, PACs and parties. Just how likely is such an amendment to pass through Congress?

One might think the will of the people might have something to do with the decisions of Congress, but that’s just not always or even usually the case. The people who sponsor our elected officials often have even greater sway because a politician without money isn’t going to be a politician for very long. It’s no wonder many people are concerned by the amount of money influencing our political process.

9 in 10 Americans think there is too much money in politics, according to polling data from BANNON COMMUNICATIONS RESEARCH.

8 in 10 Americans are against the Citizens United decision, according to an Washington Post/ABC poll conducted in 2010.

Nearly the same proportion (74%) of Americans support public financing with a ban on big donations (see Bannon).

The big donations dominate the funding of political campaigns, parties and PACs. Just 0.40 percent of the U.S. population donated over $200 to political campaigns and PACs, according to The Center for Responsive Politics at OpenSecrets.Org. However, their contributions amounted to 63.4 percent of all political contributions to federal candidates, PACs, and political parties in 2012. That amounted to $2.837 billion dollars. Of that money, $2.169 billion was given by donors contributing over $2,500. That means nearly half of all contributions in our political campaigns (federal candidates, parties, PACs) were donated by .08 percent of the population.

Here’s a look at how those contributions look by sector, and to affiliated political parties. Often labor unions get brought up in this discussion, and as you can see, compared to all the others combined, they are a small portion of the almost 3 billion dollars donated by large contributors.