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Campaign finance ruling sparks bipartisan agreement

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds broad cross-partisan opposition to the recent Supreme Court ruling knocking down limits on corporate and union spending on political campaigns.

Widespread opposition to Supreme Court ruling

Q. Do you support or oppose the ruling that says corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections?


Q. Would you support or oppose an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns?


Opposition to the ruling cuts across ideological and demographic lines. "Strong" partisans of both parties, though widely opposed to the ruling, are a bit more apt than those less deeply connected to their parties to support it.

Broad majorities favor congressional action to reinstate limits on such spending, including more than seven in 10 across party lines and two-thirds or better across ideological divides.

Partisan and ideological breakdowns on each question are below.

Q. 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?

         -- Support ---   --- Oppose ---
         NET   Strongly   NET   Strongly
All      18        6      80       65

Dem      14        4      85       69
Rep      19        8      76       58
Ind      18        7      81       68

Strong   18        5      82       67
Not str.  9        1      90       72

Strong   28       12      69       55
Not str.  8        3      85       63

Lib      14        4      86       73
Mod      12        4      85       68
Con      24       10      73       58

Lib Dem  15        5      85       71
Con Rep  23       10      74       57

Q. Would you support or oppose an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns?

         -- Support ---   --- Oppose ---
         NET   Strongly   NET   Strongly
All      72       52      24       14

Dem      77       57      19       12
Rep      71       50      23       15
Ind      71       52      27       16

Strong   78       61      21       10
Not str. 74       51      18        5

Strong   68       45      27       18
Not str. 76       56      19       11

Lib      77       59      22       14
Mod      80       57      18        9
Con      63       44      31       21

Lib Dem  83       63      16        8
Con Rep  66       46      26       17

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  February 17, 2010; 11:12 AM ET
Categories:  Campaign Finance , Crosstabs , Post Polls  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Post-ABC Poll: Views on gay marriage steady, more back civil unions
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The US Supreme Court made a colossal error of thought and deed in this ruling. They apparently do not understand that Corporations are NOT persons under the law in the same sense that I am a person under the law (ever hear of a corporation in Jail? Voting? Vomiting? Becoming a Public Nuisance?), not to mention the fact that they do not merit unlimited Free Speech. How is selling Tobacco to minors NOT to be considered an expression of Free Speech. Or, in simple terms, the Court is topsy-turvy.

They have discredited themselves. Several Justices should simply step down. They have no standing to rule any longer. That's me exercising my personal right to free speech.

Posted by: bert8 | February 17, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the public did not know what the law was before the Supreme Court ruling and how very little it has actually changed as a result of the ruling. Now, instead of simply implying that you should vote for or against a candidate, a corporation can expressly state that you should vote for or against that candidate. Not so different.

Why doesn't the poll just ask if we should ban all campaign ads? That question would probably get the same result.

Also, the poll mischaracterizes the law. A union cannot spend as much as it wants to help candidates win elections. It can't spend more than (at most) 49% of its funds to do that, otherwise it isn't a union. (Some would say the spending threshold is lower.)

Posted by: SaabCapeCod | February 17, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I would like to express my real thoughts here but they would be reported as offensive. The Supreme court should be dumped and voted in by the people. Furthermore any ruling so highly unpopular should demand the Supreme Court be impeached. We need to vote these Supreme Court whackjob Justices in just like the Congress

Posted by: glenglish | February 17, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Well, of course you get the numbers you want when you ask the questions in a biased fashion.

Try asking this instead. "Should the makers of Hillary: The Movie have been prohibited from purchasing ad time to promote their movie?"

Then ask the same question with Fahrenheit 9-11.

Or: "Do you believe that corporations such as the Washington Post Co. should be allowed to speak and publish freely?"

Posted by: awalker1972 | February 17, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

We need to vote these Supreme Court whackjob Justices in just like the Congress
be voted in and given term limits.

Posted by: glenglish | February 17, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

@glenglish: Why would you think voters could do a better job than the current system?

Just look at the results of the current members of congress voted in by the citizens.

Posted by: wtortorici | February 17, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Even the tea baggers have this one figured out. When President Obama Spoke out on this issue at his State of the Union Address to Congress the Rublicans, Fax news, and even one of the "Conservative" Supreme Court Justices howled in disagreement. So Obama has succeeded at bipartisanship with the American people, just not Fax news and the Republicans in Congress.

Bush's idiot appointments will haunt America forever. This "Conservative" Supreme Court is nothing more than an extension of the Republican Party whose one and only agenda is to make the rich richer. Everything else is just a means to that end.

Posted by: chucky-el | February 17, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Balance of Powers in Federal Government: Legislative, Judicial, Executive.

Oh, for the Dems who controlled the Executive and Legislative control is all you want and desire. DENIED. Hard tea to drink.

The political parties do not understand the significance of this ruling yet, what it means ahead of them.

Fools only know, in the end.

Previous to this ruling, Individual Americans gave to campaigns so the donors' abilities to make individual political statements on the record was muted. Pay for play was and has always been demanded from and for some of the larger and ''blocked'' donor groups.

Until now, small and large corporations had to work with special interest, lobbyist groups --the Industry --who currently buy-off politicians everyday...a system with most American's disdain....or so the politicians and Media have said and continued to say, until O'Bama kept their industry active in Washington, contrary to campaign promises. BS.

Until now, the only way for corporations to influence politics was by buying or setting up separate or subsidiary Media Corporations (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN...) all examples of MAINTSTREAM MEDIA corporations delivering a daily agenda of left wing propoganda.

The Supreme Court takes away this requirement of having to set up and work with these Media Corps...this is what is rocking the boat....the monopoly and control is evaporationg for these companies and lobbyist industry.

Transparency will come with this ruling. Not the black muck of special lobbyist industries and a long established media grip on everything they decided to communicate.

Now, small and large corporations can make direct donations to campaigns who support and voice their causes, or they can advertise their wishes directly...side stepping the old processes.

...side stepping the lobbyist and influence-peddling INDUSTRY...and side-stepping the Mainstream Media outlets who have had a propogandist choke-hold on what people are allowed to see and hear over our airwaves.

This is called Freedom of Speech for all individuals as guaranteed by the US Constitution. Companies are people. Why should Americans who own and work for them muzzled anymore as in the past?

This is what the decision was about. It is a victory for all Americans.

Politicians, lobbyist and mainstream media industries ...the status quo has changed. It will be impossible, without special new legislation keep these interests protecting their old buddies, special interests and the old media.

Message to Old (Mainstream) Media...your days are numbered and your roles are about to dry up and disappear.

Hope you have the vision atleast to see this coming. You are no longer needed or depended on, nor have a choke-hold on what is said to Americans.

Thank you Supreme Court for remaining independent in the face of Washington corruption, Organized Media and Organized Politics.

Posted by: Accuracy | February 17, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The poll questions are bogus. The SC ruling said nothing of the kind. What it DID do was allow ANY group to pay for politically-based advertising that had previously been prohibited. This change will allow people (who MAY have that money as a result of them owning/managing a corporation) to decide to use their money as they see fit, including spending it to support a political message/candidate. Whye don't we see a poll that includes that wording, and then see the results?

Posted by: nestor21 | February 17, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The motivation of the majority in this ruling has been misconstrued. This court, now strengthened by the addition of Roberts and Alito, will always make rulings which support the Republican party. This began with their decision to award the presidency to Bush, stopping the recount in Florida which was trending to show a victory for Gore. This is just a continuation.

Posted by: lowercaselarry | February 17, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Q. Do you support or oppose the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that says Congress can not make laws that restrict any group's campaign speech?

Q. Would you support or oppose an effort by Congress to limit freedom of speech?

Posted by: fredjackson1 | February 17, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

As usual the Washington Post can't even get a questions right. The supreme court did not rule corporations "could spend as much as they want to help a candidate" all campaign finance rules are in affect when it comes to candidates. Corporations just as citizens are limited to $2,300 to support a candidate. They can however just like regular citizens spend as much as they want voicing their point of view.

The Post should change it's name to Pravda.

Posted by: robtr | February 17, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

The questions would have gotten a different response had they been stated as "do you support or oppose limiting a union's or corporation's right to voice its support of a particular political candidate or issue?" Stated that way with the First Amendment issue much clearer, I suspect the answers would have been different. Why doesn't the Post sponsor a survey with the question this way? It would make an interesting comparison. Why didn't it ask the question both ways in the first place?

Posted by: beachnut | February 17, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Just wait, Congress will do nothing to address this final blow. They are all corrupted by big money, save a few. The republic has ended, thanks to the Federal Reserve Act, the Patriot Act, and this ruling by the Supreme Court. We need a revolution to restore represenative democracy to this country. Thankfully, we have enough guns to accomplish that mission.

Posted by: Aurellano | February 17, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

NewsBusters: WaPo Peddles 'Citizens United' Untruths While Reporting Public Opposition

Posted by: StewartIII | February 17, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Money/spending is not speech. To claim that the constitution protects campaign spending as a type of expression equivalent to speech is a real stretch. I can express my dislike for someone by punching them, but that isn't a constitutionally protected form of expression either.

That groups of people can express a joint opinion should be protected.

Posted by: wireknob | February 18, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

I am as liberal as most democrats, yet I think this question is hardly free of bias. Would the result be the same if the wording was:

Do you support or oppose the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that says corporations and unions must abide by the same rules as individuals?

Posted by: gradstudent2007 | February 18, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: gradstudent2007: "Do you support or oppose the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that says corporations and unions must abide by the same rules as individuals?"

No. The Constitution states, "We the People" and mentions NOTHING about "We the Corporations or Unions."

Do you think we should start giving corporations and the unions the right to vote?

Posted by: tazmodious | February 22, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

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