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LBJ School's Center for Politics and Governance Sponsors Comprehensive National Poll on Money and Politics

Fifty-one percent of people believe the country is on the wrong track, according to a poll conducted by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin's Department of Government

AUSTIN, Texas, November 17, 2009 - The LBJ School's Center for Politics and Governance sponsored and initiated a comprehensive national poll conducted by The University of Texas at Austin Department of Government on public perception of the relationship between money and politics. The results of the poll were released during the first panel discussion on the 2009 Fall Forum on Money and Politics on Monday, November 16, 2009.

"This poll is one of the most comprehensive sets of data on public perceptions on issues of money and politics, campaign finance, and corruption that has ever been compiled," said Veronica Vargas Stidvent, director of the Center for Politics and Governance. "The results of this poll are even more thought-provoking in light of the ongoing Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which has the potential to change the framework of campaign finance regulation."Daron Shaw and Brian Roberts

Daron Shaw, a government professor at  the University of Texas at Austin, presented the findings of the poll which pulled from a representative sample of 2,100 people across the United States.

According to the poll, 51 percent of people believe the country is on the wrong track.

"The pessimism that we have seen expressed in the national surveys over the past 15 months continues," said Shaw, who oversaw the polling along with Government Professor Brian Roberts and Texas Politics Project Director Jim Henson. "Americans are very concerned about the economy and unemployment, but also express concern about corruption and the efficacy of the political system."

Some of the poll's findings on respondents' view of money in politics include:

  • Fift-eight percent of respondents say the source of a candidate's campaign contributions are a factor in how they vote, compared to 29 percent who say the amount a candidate raises is a factor
  • Respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a hypothetical U.S. Senate candidate if he or she received campaign contributions primarily from friends and acquaintances compared to the tobacco industry or trial attorneys. But the amount of money the candidate raised had no impact on voter support.
  • The three biggest factors influencing Congress member's votes are campaign contributors, party affiliation and lobbyists, according to respondents who said constituents' concerns had the least amount of influence.

Corruption also ranked high in the poll as an issue that respondents are worried about. Accoring to Shaw, respondents listed corporations as the highest contributors to campaign funds, at 80%, where as Shaw says the real number is closer to 2%.

The poll also asked questions pertaining to other political issues finding that 42 percent of respondents believe the economy, including unemployment and recent federal bailout packages, is the most important issue facing the country today. Health care ranked second among respondents' concerns at 17 percent.

Similary, 95 percent of respondents rated jobs and unemployment as an issue of high importance, more than any of the other 15 issues.

"Our results suggest that an economic recovery will only go so far in restoring the public's trust in Congress," said Roberts. "Perceptions of corruption and the role of money in politics are profound and are poised to impact voting decisions."

For full results of the poll, visit:


LBJ School's Center for Politics and Governance (CPG) to Examine 'Money and Politics' in 2009 Fall Forum - November 11, 2009

The University of Texas at Austin - Americans Believe Nation Headed Down Wrong Track, According to New Poll - November 16, 2009

The Texas Tribune- Size Doesn't Matter - November 16, 2009

KUT Radio - Federal Campaign Finance Future - November 16, 2009

Austin American Statesman - Americans see country headed in the wrong direction, poll says, but closer look shows strong partisan divide on nation's direction - November 16, 2009

The Daily Texan - Poll reveals opinion on political funding - November 17, 2009