Poll: Special Interests a Big Factor in Campaign

Tuesday, 21 Aug 2012 12:13 PM

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Most voters continue to believe it is impossible to run for the presidency without help from lobbyists and special-interest groups. A narrow plurality, however, continues to believe that media bias is a bigger problem than big campaign contributions.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 22 percent of likely voters believe it is possible to run for president in today’s world without having ties to any lobbyists and special interest groups.

Fifty-seven percent disagree, saying it is impossible to seek the presidency without ties to lobbyists and special-interest groups. Twenty-one percent are unsure.

Still, a plurality (47 percent) of voters feels media bias is a bigger problem in politics today than big campaign contributions. However, nearly as many (42 percent) now think big campaign contributions are a bigger problem.

Four years ago, voters were more concerned about media bias and less concerned about campaign cash.

That may be due to the declining influence of traditional media sources, concerns about the impact of Super PACs, or merely the fact that intense campaign advertising started earlier this year than ever before. As Scott Rasmussen noted earlier on his radio update for the WOR Radio Network, many consider campaign ads to be a form of “civic pollution.”

Looking ahead to the Nov. 6 election, 51 percent of voters think that most reporters will try to help the president, while 9 percent feel they will try to help Romney. Just 2 percent believe most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage.

Forty-nine percent of voters believe lobbyists and campaign contributors have too much influence over the president’s positions, compared to 42 percent who feel that way about Romney.

That’s a big change from 2008, when voters were more inclined to see McCain as influenced by special interests than Obama.

Today, just 25 percent think lobbyists and campaign contributors do not have too much influence over Obama vs. 32 percent who think that of Romney. A sizable 26 percent are undecided when it comes to both men.

Predictably, 68 percent of Democrats think lobbyists and campaign contributions have too much influence on Romney’s positions, and 60 percent of Republicans disagree.

But while 72 percent of GOP voters say lobbyists and campaign contributions will influence Obama’s positions too much, only 48 percent of voters in the president’s party feel otherwise.

Among voters unaffiliated with either of the major parties, 51 percent  think lobbyists and campaign contributors have too much influence over Obama, and 43 percent believe that to be true of Romney as well.

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