Swing Voters Want Reformers, Not More of the Same

As the election campaign kicks into full gear this October and “independent expenditure” ads paid for by SuperPACs flood the airwaves, candidates across the country are frantically trying to distinguish themselves from their opponents in voters’ eyes.

New survey results from Public Campaign Action Fund and Democracy Corps shed some light on an opportunity that both parties seem to have overlooked. The groups asked voters in 54 battleground Congressional districts about the impact of big money on our democracy.

The results are unequivocal- Americans want money out of politics — now. By a ratio of 2-to-1, voters believe that big money is responsible for a culture of corruption. 64% of voters believe that our current system undermines democracy, a mere 29% think voters still decide how the country is run.

So how can candidates best use this information in the five weeks before the election? The answer is obvious: Get behind campaign reform, commit yourself to a detailed plan to rein in the power of big money so that the voices of individual voters can be heard and government pays attention to them rather than to the big givers.

To date, neither Democrats nor Republicans have successfully defined themselves as the party of reform. When asked which party would do a better job cleaning up Washington, 43% of respondents either refused to answer or answered “neither party,” which wasn’t even one of the listed options.

Voters have a clear alternative in mind, in which small donations would be supported by modest public financing. There is a clear, unsatisfied demand for candidates who are willing to confront big money head on.

With Congress’ approval ratings lower than ever, anybody who can show real credentials as a reformer is in a great position this November. Money in politics can be a central issue this election- all that’s missing are candidates with the political courage to take on the special interests.

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