Most Americans say they think the billions of dollars spent on campaigns affected the outcomes of the 2014 elections, and they support changing the Constitution to allow for more limits on spending, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.
Americans are more than three times as likely to say that elections are generally won by the candidate who raises the most money as they are to say that they're generally won by the best candidate. Two-thirds also said super PACs had at least some influence on the results of the 2014 midterms, with 39 percent saying they had a great deal of influence. Fifty-two percent said that limiting contributions to political campaigns would help prevent corruption in politics.
Democrats were significantly more likely than Republicans to express concern about campaign finances: They were 15 points more likely than Republicans to say limiting contributions prevents corruption, 22 points more likely to say elections are usually won by the top fundraiser, and 34 points more likely to say super PACs had a great deal of influence on the 2014 midterms.
A 53 percent majority of Americans, including 64 percent of independents and 48 percent of Republicans, support a constitutional amendment giving Congress more power to create restrictions on campaign spending. Twenty-three percent oppose the idea, and 22 percent are unsure.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a longtime proponent of campaign finance reform, proposed a long-shot amendment this year that would allow lawmakers more power to curb the political spending allowed by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in 2010. It failed in the Senate in mid-September.
Overall, Americans were split on whom they think super PACs benefit most, with 35 percent saying they're equally helpful to both parties, 22 percent that they do more to help Republicans, and 13 percent that they do more to help Democrats.
While independents and Republicans both believe super PACs benefit the parties equally, however, Democrats are largely convinced that outside spending works against their party, with 40 percent saying it does more for the GOP, and just a combined 26 percent saying super PACs benefit both parties or benefit their own party.
Since the Citizens United decision, Republican super PACs have outspent Democratic ones in two of three election cycles. When other forms of outside spending such as PACs and dark money are included in the tally, Republicans have outspent Democrats in each of the past three cycles.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Nov. 7-9 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here.