Poll: Bipartisan Majority Oppose Ruling Allowing Unlimited Corporate Spending in Federal Elections
February 17, 2010
(ChattahBox)—The recently decided Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, permitted unlimited corporate spending in federal elections. The 5-4 decision did away with the long-standing limits on the use of corporate profits to influence elections, by arguing that such a ban violated the free speech rights of corporations. Republicans supported the expansion of First Amendment rights, but Democrats, led by President Obama denounced the ruling as a dangerous assault on Democracy, allowing corporate interests to heavily influence elections. The Citizens United decision will “open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections,” declared President Obama in his State of the Union Address.
Now, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that the majority of Americans oppose the Supreme Court decision and agree with President Obama that limits should be set by Congress to ban direct corporate spending in federal elections. An overwhelming 80 percent majority oppose the ruling.
According to the poll, eight in 10 respondents say they oppose the Supreme Court’s decision to allow unlimited corporate political spending, with 65 percent “strongly” opposed. And 72 percent are in favor of reinstating limits on corporate election spending.
But the across-the-board, bipartisan opposition to the Citizens United decision was the most surprising, in light of the Republican Party’s support of the ruling, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The Democrats in Congress are moving ahead to place limits on corporate spending in political campaigns, but Republicans have vowed to block any bills.
Broken down among party affiliation, 85 percent of Democrats oppose the decision, 76 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Independents are against the ruling.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who is co-sponsoring a bill placing limits on corporate political campaign spending, pointed out that Americans, regardless of party affiliation, don’t want special interests to decide elections. “If there’s one thing that Americans from the left, right and center can all agree on, it’s that they don’t want more special interests in our politics,” said Schumer in a statement.
“We hope we can get strong and quick bipartisan support for our legislation, which passes constitutional muster but will still effectively limit the influence of special interests.”
With Republicans now having the power to effectively filibuster and kill any proposal put through the Senate, the Democratic majority will have a fight on their hands. But this poll should help Democrats pressure Republicans to either not filibuster the measure, or give Democrats political cover to push it through by reconciliation.
Source: Washington Post