Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bad poll on campaign financing

The Wash Post report:
Poll: Large majority opposes Supreme Court's decision on campaign financing

Americans of both parties overwhelmingly oppose a Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations and unions to spend as much as they want on political campaigns, and most favor new limits on such spending, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Eight in 10 poll respondents say they oppose the high court's Jan. 21 decision to allow unfettered corporate political spending, with 65 percent "strongly" opposed. Nearly as many backed congressional action to curb the ruling, with 72 percent in favor of reinstating limits.

The poll reveals relatively little difference of opinion on the issue among Democrats (85 percent opposed to the ruling), Republicans (76 percent) and independents (81 percent).

The results suggest a strong reservoir of bipartisan support on the issue for President Obama and congressional Democrats, who are in the midst of crafting legislation aimed at limiting the impact of the high court's decision.
No, the court did not decide to allow "unfettered corporate political spending". It upheld strict limits on campaign donations, and on foreign money.

The phrase "campaign financing" usually means the money that a candidate raises to spend on his political campaign. The court decision was not about that at all. It was only about money that corporations spend on their own.

The poll questions were:
35. Changing topics, do you support or oppose the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that says corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

36. Would you support or oppose an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?
No, the corporations and unions cannot spend as much money as they want. They cannot spend the money on candidates. These questions do not match either the court opinion, or the story.

It would have been much better to ask a question about what the court actually decided. Eg, it could ask about the showing of an anti-Clinton movie a month before an election.

1 comment:

AltonJohn said...

Similar points are made here: