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Clean Elections: Good Politics

We already knew that clean elections were good policy. In fact, we brought together over 100 policymakers and activists in New Hampshire to spread the word on clean elections (see the resulting Resource Sheet). Now, new polling data shows that clean elections are also good politics. Polling undertaken for Public Campaign Action Fund and Common Cause shows that Americans overwhelmingly (74%) support public financing.

The result is bipartisan with 80% of Democrats, 78% of Independents, and 65% of Republicans support this reform.

What's important to emphasize is why voters said things would improve with public financing of elections.

  • 82% of voters believe it is likely, as a result of publicly financed elections, that candidates will win on their ideas, not because of the money they raise.
  • 79% said it would allow candidates with good ideas rather than just the rich and powerful to have a shot at winning elections.
  • 77% said that special interests would not receive as many favors, tax breaks and deals from politicians.

This last point is important. Public financing of elections are NOT a policy that will increase government spending; in fact, it's almost guaranteed to pay for itself many times over with less tax and government contract giveaways and more honest, cheaper services. 77% of the public recognize that our present system of legalized bribery costs the public every day, so replacing it with public financing will be a cost-saver.