Citizens down on super PACs


ChartThere are citizens out there who are strongly supportive of political organizations that are allowed to amass piles of cash and spend it to influence elections – but in a group of 100 citizens, only nine would be in that strongly supportive group. According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, if you add in those who are at least somewhat supportive and you’re still only talking 25 people.

On the flip side of that coin, 16% are somewhat opposed to super PACs, and a clear majority – 52% — is strongly opposed to them, putting the anti-PAC total at 68%.

6% of those polled weren’t sure.

Chris Cillizza, who writes political blog The Fix for WaPo, noted that anti-PAC sentiment is even stronger among political independents than it is among the population as a whole. 78% of independents would make them illegal.

PACs affiliated with individual candidates have been active in the Republican presidential primaries, with notable support going to Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Politicians have more issues to sort out when assessing super PACs – if they want to align with voters as measured by the WaPo/ABC survey, they need to denounce them. But if the super PAC is on their side, well, money is money. And the PACs can go negative at will, something candidates often wish to avoid doing personally.

Cillizza noted Romney’s ant-PAC comments earlier in the campaign, but also notes that Romney did not stop the PAC formed to support his own candidacy from spending on his behalf.

RBR-TVBR observation: The 2012 elections are expected to be flooded in advertising dollars, and it may turn the entire process into a petri dish in which we can study the ultimate effects of such a flood.

Will there be a voter backlash against the big spenders? Are candidates from both parties going to find the electoral environment to unpredictable to endure? Will there be a serious effort to apply legislative remedies to Citizens United? Stay tuned – and also keep the cash register drawer at your station in good working order and enjoy the cash influx while you can.