Poll finds bipartisan support for fixing campaign finance laws | Wednesday Morning Coffee

Three-quarters of Pa. voters believe that more money means more access to power

June 8, 2022 7:14 am

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

We’re deep in the middle of a midterm campaign cycle, and if we know one thing for certain, it’s that candidates, their campaigns, and special interest groups will spend geysers of cash between now and November.

How do we know? As is the case with so many things, past is prologue. In 2020, dark money groups raised $3.5 billion to influence races up and down the ballot, according to an analysis by American Promise, a good government group behind a new push to reform campaign finance law across the nation.

The group landed in Harrisburg on Tuesday, where it rallied on behalf of a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would give states, now restricted by decades of court precedent, greater latitude to regulate campaign spending within their borders.

To buttress its argument, American Promise came armed with new polling data that shows broad bipartisan support for overhauling a system that too many Americans believe favors a powerful few over the majority of the population.

The data, which starts below, makes a compelling case for change.

Campaign finance poll results
(Source: American Promise)

Seventy percent of Pennsylvania respondents to a recent poll of registered voters said they supported new laws limiting spending on political campaigns and issues.

That support cut across party lines, with slightly more than two-thirds of Republicans (66 percent) and nearly eight in 10 Democrats (79 percent) supporting such changes, according to the poll.

Three-quarters of all respondents (75 percent) said they agreed that those who give more money to elected officials have more influence than the rest of us.

And 71 percent of respondents said they favored rules that limited the influence of deep-pocketed donors. Once again, that support cut across the partisan divide, with 67 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats saying they favored such restrictions.

(Source: American Promise)

The poll found the strongest bipartisan consensus for limiting the out-of-state money that now floods modern campaigns. In all, 68 percent of Republicans; 69 percent of GOP-leaning independents and nonpartisan independents, and 74 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents all expressed support for such restrictions, according to the poll.

And when it comes to that proposed amendment, two-thirds of state voters (65 percent) said the support amending the nation’s foundational document to allow Congress and state legislatures to enact stronger rules and transparency requirements for contributions and spending in federal elections. The proposal has the backing of six in 10 Republicans (61 percent) and 77 percent of Democratic respondents, according to the poll.

As the Capital-Star reported Tuesday, 22 states have so far have passed resolutions calling on Congress to pass the amendment, which must clear the U.S. House and Senate by a two-thirds voteThirty-eight states must ratify a proposed amendment before it can become a permanent part of the nation’s foundational document.

The American Promise poll, conducted by Citizen Data, included two online samples. The first, surveyed from Feb. 17 to March 4, included 4,000 registered voters. The second online sample of 1,000 registered voters, was surveyed from March 7 to March 11.

State Rep. Barbara Gleim, R-Cumberland, speaks at a “save women’s sports” rally calling for the passage of HB 972 and SB 1191 on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).

Our Stuff.
The Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate — after more than an hour of debate on Tuesday — approved legislation prohibiting transgender girls and women from participating in girls’ and women’s school sportsStaff Reporter Marley Parish and Associate Editor Cassie Miller have the story.

Providing crime survivors the resources they need to emerge from their trauma is crucial to breaking the cycle of violence in Pennsylvania communities, crime survivors and advocates said Tuesday during a Capitol rally. Senior Reporter Peter Hall has the details.

Voting largely along party lines Tuesday, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out bills establishing a scheme to spend up to $400 million in federal money to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells, Peter Hall also reports.

Here’s the full story, from me, on Tuesday’s press conference on that proposed constitutional amendment.

Just the Pill, which is pioneering its novel approach to protecting reproductive health services, soon could be expanding its services to Pennsylvania, our sibling site, the Wisconsin Examiner, reports.

On our Commentary Page this morning: Our leaders have failed us on gun violence. Let’s take the power back, the Rev. Sandra Strauss, of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, writes. And veteran attorney Matthew Mangino explains why we may never see police accountability in the Uvalde, Texas school shootings.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz ( photo)

Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate primary was ‘bonkers,’ the Inquirer reports, as it runs down some of the highlights of the very strange race.

half-dozen successful write-in candidates will contend for Pittsburgh-area state House seats in November, the Post-Gazette reports.

Public water utilities say a bill now before the state Senate will increase rates, the Associated Press reports (via PennLive).

In Lancaster County, activists rallied outside the home of Senate Education Chairperson Scott Martin, R-Lancasterto call for fair school fundingLancasterOnline reports (paywall).

The York Daily Record runs down the latest on election reform efforts before the state Legislature (paywall).

A bill now moving through the state Senate would allow municipal governments to confiscate the illegal ATVs and dirt bikes that defy local traffic laws and scare motorists, the Morning Call reports.

New Luzerne County Manager Randy Robertson starts his job next week, the Citizens’ Voice reports (paywall).

After last weekend’s mass shooting on South Street, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says the only way to stop the city’s increased violence is to get rid of the guns, WHYY-FM reports.

Dauphin County’s jail cells were ‘ice cold’ before an incarcerated person diedWITF-FM reports.

PoliticsPa considers the odds of open primaries and runoffs in Pennsylvania.

Roll Call runs down the key results of Tuesday’s primary contests in seven states.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:


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What Goes On
The House and Senate both come in at 11 a.m. today.
10 a.m., Main Rotunda: An event billed ‘House Democrats fight for lives’
10 a.m., East Wing Rotunda: The state Department of Environmental Protection announces the winners of its Earth Week poster contest.
10 a.m., Capitol Steps: Rally against tolling bridges
11 a.m., Main Rotunda: Pediatricians rally day
12 p.m, Main Rotunda: Environmental and conservation groups rally in support of a new Growing Greener program for clean water
1 p.m, Main Rotunda: Small Business Advocacy Day event
2:30 p.m., Main Rotunda: Rally for safe, affordable access to MDMA- and psilocybin-assisted therapies
4 p.m., Capitol Steps: Nursing home workers rally

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)
7:30 a.m.: Breakfast for Rep. Rob Mercuri
8 a.m.: Breakfast for Sen. Vincent Hughes
8 a.m.: Breakfast for Sen.-elect Jimmy Dillon
5 p.m.: Reception for Treasurer Stacy Garrity
5:30 p.m.: Reception for Rep. Emily Kinkead
Ride the circuit and give at the max, and you’re out an inoffensive-for-Harrisburg $8,000 today.

As of this writing, Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.

Heavy Rotation
I’ve been down a bit of a vintage synthpop rabbit hole of late. And if you only know The Human League from ‘Don’t You Want Me?‘ then this early period track, ‘Being Boiled,’ is going to surprise you.

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link
The Tampa Bay Lightning evened up their Eastern Conference playoff series with the New York Rangers on Tuesday, winning 4-1 at Amalie Arena. The series, now tied at two games apiece, returns to MSG on Thursday.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.