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Study: Campaign Financing Not an Issue for Voters

By Matthew Mosk
Sen. John McCain has tried to turn his financial disadvantage into a political plus by reminding voters that rival Sen. Barack Obama broke his pledge to participate in a system of presidential public financing that was designed to rid campaigns of corrupting influences.

A new USA Today/Gallup poll suggests that may be an uphill messaging battle.

According to the poll, the majority of Americans -- 62 percent -- aren't even sure which candidate decided to take public financing and which one decided to raise as much money as he could on his own.

Yet the candidates' financing decisions may prove among of the most critical in the campaign. When McCain received $84 million in federal funds for his general election bid, he had to shut down his campaign's fundraising operation. Obama said no to the public money, and turned around and raised $150 million in September, shattering previous fundraising records and giving him his present organizational and advertising advantage.

When the participants in the Oct. 28 poll were told of each candidate's approach, roughly three-quarters said it did not affect their view of the race, according to the report at

The same can't be said for their views on public financing in general. Democrats, who have traditionally supported the public financing system, now oppose it at a time when Obama is reaping the rewards of a private fundraising operation -- and Republicans, whose congressional leaders have aggressively fought spending limits, now favor them by 64 percent to 33 percent.

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 30, 2008; 11:58 AM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama , John McCain , The Green Zone  
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Next: Defiant McCain Kicks Off Ohio Bus Tour


To thejaner

As a Democrat, on the one hand, I sympathize with your stated principles; on the other hand, I wonder whether you're actually a Democrat.

Since the republicans have been agressive and relentless in using every underhanded, slimy and amoral tactic in the book, in election after election, I strongly prefer that the Democrats spend whatever they can to counter such tactics, rather than getting down into the gutter with the republicans.

Negative campaigining works, so if you're going to take the high road, you have to spend a lot of money to drive your positions home. I'm thankful that Obama has been able to raise the funds to do it.

We won't know whether the deal has been closed until Nov. 4. Right now, the smart money still seems to say that the Democrats will succeed.

Posted by: PJA_in_Boston | October 30, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Im a registered democrat, not voting republican....I'm voting McCain...

Serverd 22yrs in the navy, stayed a pow because of the code...
Servered another 22 yrs in washington..
and showed their are no party lines to him...

This is not the time to raise anyones taxes... that would kill this country...

listen to johns ideas, and they are valid... look at his site, its clear and makes sense....

look at, is all confusing and fussy not very reader friendly, then again, his plans sound better when he talks of them not about them...

Posted by: carminejg3 | October 30, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps those 62 percent of Americans are too dumb to even vote?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 30, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I beg to differ. It is a huge issue to me. I am a democrat, and it disturbs me when a candidate breaks a promise and spends 600 million on an election-it is obscene.
McCain is spending 84 million and BO still can't close the deal. Perhaps elections can't be bought after all.

Posted by: thejaner | October 30, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee Hearts Obama?

See the latest Lies the GOP is trying to spread about Obama

Posted by: pastor123 | October 30, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

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