Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Iowans Support VOICE and Clean Elections

Iowa CCI conducted a poll of political donors across the state about their attitudes towards the influence of big money in politics and public financed elections...

CCI recently conducted a survey of current political donors to gauge their support of VOICE and taking big money out of politics. We conducted this survey because we believe that political donors would also support public financing to reduce the role that money plays in campaigning and the reliance on large contributions to candidates. The survey results show that those with a financial stake in the outcome of state elections believe that the current system is broken. We contacted 2,861 donors and conducted interviews with 1,502 people who were chosen because they donated to political candidates for state office. The charts that follow show the findings of this study, which break down support for VOICE by income, amount donated and political party.


While many may expect political donors to be content with the current system, our survey reveals that donors across the political and financial spectrum are in support of a system where people matter more, and money matters less.
The poll shows Iowans are against the influence of big money in politics.
When asked, "Many people believe there is too much money in the political process. Do you agree or disagree?" nearly nine out of 10 (88 percent of) donors said they agreed. Just six percent of respondents said they did not believe there was too much money in politics.

These sentiments go across party lines as well, with 89 percent of Democrats, 88 percent of Republicans, and 82 percent of Independents agreeing that there is too much money in politics.
The poll shows strong support across party lines for public financed elections and specifically the VOICE bill.
73 percent of political contributors support public financing as laid out in the VOICE Act as a way to reduce the role money is playing in our political process. (Only 20 percent were opposed.)2

This support also crosses party lines - 75 percent of Democratic donors, 70 percent of Republican donors, and 74 percent of Independent donors favor VOICE.
The support is pretty even across income levels as well...
Eighty-one percent of those polled that have a household income over $100,000 supported VOICE, and 74 percent of those with a household income less than $100,000 supported VOICE. (This leaves out a group who did not disclose their household income, which still supported VOICE at 65 percent.)
The last 2 legislative sessions, political leaders refused to allow the VOICE bill to come up for a vote. The VOICE legislation would bring voluntary clean elections to Iowa.

The VOICE bill would require candidates to get $5 donations along with their signatures to qualify. All of this money would go into a fund that would be used by candidates that have met the requirements to earn public money. The rest of the money would come from unclaimed property and a check off on your state income taxes.

Under the VOICE bill no taxpayer money would be used unless you want to mark the check off on your state income taxes. Overall, the system would cost around $10 million or less than 1/10 of 1% of the state's annual budget.

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