For Immediate Release: May 6, 2013
NEW BIPARTISAN POLL: NEW YORK VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY AGREE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM IS KEY TO ENDING CORRUPTION
Overwhelming Support for Publicly Financed Elections; Strong Disclosure and Enforcement Mechanisms; and Lower Contribution Limits
Ending Money-in-Politics More Urgent to Voters than Reducing Threat of Gun Violence, Access to Reproductive Health
(Albany, NY) – Fair Elections for New York today released the findings of a new survey conducted by Global Strategy Group/Mercury Public Affairs showing that New York voters – Democrat, Republican, and independent – overwhelmingly support a variety of proposals to reform New York State’s campaign finance laws, even as Albany drags its feet on cleaning up the process.
Among the survey’s key findings:
· The job being done by New York’s state legislature is rated negatively by 71% of likely voters, and 82% place the blame for the legislature’s poor performance on corruption and the influence of money in politics.
· Fully 97% of voters say it is important for state leaders to address “reducing the influence of money in politics and ending corruption,” including 50% who say it is extremely important and another 39% who say it is very important.
o Higher than the number who want leaders to address other popular items on the Governor’s agenda, such as:
§ “Reducing the threat of gun violence” (42% extremely/31% very)
§ “Improving reproductive health and pay equity for women” (28% extremely/37% very)
§ “Legalizing the use of medical marijuana” (9% extremely/12% very) and “legalizing casino gambling by amending the state constitution: (5% extremely/9% very)
· 80% of Independents, 75% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans support Fair Elections for New York’s proposal to provide public matching funds for small donations, lower contribution limits, disclose the spending of outside groups, and more strictly enforce all campaign finance laws.
Kieran Mahoney, Chief Executive Officer of Mercury Public Affairs, said: “We heard a bipartisan majority of New Yorkers across the state voice their support of Fair Elections for New York’s proposal — with over 70% of likely voters in every region of the state coming out in favor of public matching funds for small donations and other reforms. When an issue polls that high in all regions, it’s clear its time has come.”
Jefrey Pollock, President of Global Strategy Group, said: “Campaign finance reform, not just in general, but the specific package on the table in Albany, is now a very strong consensus for New Yorkers of every political stripe, and they see it as a proxy to deal with the corruption scandals that are now dominating the headlines.”
The poll is further evidence of New Yorkers’ support for campaign finance reform. Previous Siena polls from January 2013 and August 2012 found a majority of New Yorkers supported Governor Cuomo’s campaign finance reform proposals. Since January, a string of high-profile arrests of elected officials has brought increased attention to the issue.
“There is a serious, dangerous disconnect between the people and their elected officials in Albany due to corruption and the influence of money in politics,” said David Donnelly, Director of Friends of Democracy and Executive Director of the Public Campaign Action Fund. “This survey shows that voters know the problem isn’t about a few bad apples, they want a systematic overhaul of the way our elections are financed.”
“These poll results should dispel any doubts about New Yorkers’ strong demand for publicly financed elections,” said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York. “Lawmakers in Albany must listen to the people and enact comprehensive campaign finance reform with public financing at its core. Voters want action, not rhetoric or obstruction, and it’s past time for Albany lawmakers to deliver.”
The poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group and Mercury Public Affairs, sampled 604 likely 2014 voters in New York. The survey was conducted via telephone from April 29 to May 1, 2013 and has a margin of error of +/- 4%. For a copy of the polling memo, please visit: http://fairelectionsny.org/