Press Release

 

For Immediate Release: November 15, 2019
Contact: press@fairelectionsny.org

Poll: As Public Campaign Financing Commission Heads in Wrong Direction, New Poll Shows Strong Support for Governor and Legislature Stepping in if Commission Falls Short

New Yorkers Overwhelmingly Support Fair Elections Proposal;

Substantial Majority Oppose Making it Harder for Minor Parties to Qualify for Ballot;

Plurality Less Likely to Vote for Elected Officials if They Don’t Get Fair Elections Done

ALBANY, NY — As the Public Campaign Financing Commission nears its deadline, a new poll shows New York voters support the Governor and the Legislature acting legislatively if the Commission falls short. An overwhelming majority support the Fair Elections proposal to reduce reliance on big money, create a small donor matching program for New York, and create an independent enforcement unit. A substantial majority oppose making it harder for minor parties to qualify for the ballot. 

As the New York Times Editorial Board recently wrote, the “commission is poised to squander a chance at needed changes.” Experts and advocates are concerned the Commission is headed towards a weak result that protects the big-money status quo rather than producing real reform. 

Key takeaways: 

  • New Yorker voters overwhelmingly support the Fair Elections for New York proposal, with 75 percent of the respondents either strongly or somewhat supported a proposal to “limit big money political contributions, create a system of public campaign financing that uses limited public funds to match small contributions made to candidates for state offices, and create an independent enforcement unit to safeguard state elections from fraud and abuse.”
  • New Yorkers  favor Governor Cuomo and the Legislature stepping in if the Public Campaign Financing Commission fails to meet its stated goals of “incentivizing candidates to solicit small contributions, reducing the pressure on candidates to spend inordinate amounts of time raising large contributions for their campaigns, and encouraging qualified candidates to run for office,” with 55 percent of New York voters either strongly or somewhat supported the Governor and the Legislature taking legislative action.
  • A substantial majority of New York voters oppose making it more difficult for minor political parties to qualify for the ballot with 64 percent saying they either strongly or somewhat oppose the idea. 
  • A plurality of New York voters, 43 percent, said they would either be much less likely or somewhat less likely to vote for their State Legislator if they failed to pass the Fair Elections package this year. Thirty-five percent said they would be much less likely or somewhat less likely to approve of Governor Cuomo’s job performance if he failed to pass the Fair Elections package this year.  

“New Yorkers support real campaign finance reform because we know that we must break the reign of real estate, Wall Street, and business interests in order to create real progress for our communities,” said Jawanza James Williams, Director of Organizing at VOCAL-NY, one of the over 200 groups supporting the Fair Elections for New York campaign. “As the Public Campaign Financing Commission has been doing its work, the public has spoken from Long Island to Buffalo demanding we get big money out of our state politics and create a strong small donor matching system that gives everyday people a real voice in our democracy, and this poll backs up that those demands are popular across this state. If this Commission keeps heading in the wrong direction, it’s clear New Yorkers agree it is the responsibility of our elected leaders to step in. We won’t let them forget it.” 

Public Policy Polling surveyed 661 New York voters from November 12-13, 2019. The margin of error is +/- 3.8%. This poll was conducted by telephone. The full poll can be found here. 

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The Fair Elections for New York campaign includes over 200 community, labor, tenant, immigrant, racial justice, environment, faith, good government, and grassroots resistance organizations who came together to ensure comprehensive campaign finance reform, including small donor public financing, was included in this year’s state budget. The campaign plans to hold leaders accountable to their commitment in the budget to deliver Fair Elections reforms this year. Learn more at FairElectionsNY.org

 

New Yorkers deserve a responsive, accountable government. Voter turnout in New York is among the lowest in the nation, due in part to antiquated procedures for registration and voting that discourage participation. And our campaign finance system favors the wealthy over everyday, working New Yorkers. To tackle the crises we face in housing, living wage jobs, criminal justice, affordable health care, transportation, climate, fair taxes, and more, we must transform a campaign finance system that advantages the interests of the few over those of the many.

 

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