HPU/UNC Poll: voters would like to ban super PAC spending

Posted April 10, 2014
Updated April 11, 2014


— Voters surveyed in a new High Point University / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill poll are unhappy with the idea of super PACs spending unlimited sums to help or harm candidates. 

The poll question defined super PACs as organizations that "can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of candidates they support." Although a "super PAC" is a particular type of campaign entity, that definition could apply to a number of nonprofit groups that raise and spend unlimited campaign cash.

But given that definition, 63 percent of respondents said they believed "somewhat" or "strongly" that it should be illegal for such groups to spend what amounts to unlimited money to influence elections.

HPU/UNC Poll super PAC question

Do you think it should be legal or illegal for these super PACS to operate?
Strongly Legal8%
Somewhat Legal19%
Somewhat Illegal19%
Strongly Illegal44%
Don’t know / refused7%
Source: HPU Poll

"In the 2012 presidential campaign, polls showed that about 40 percent of Americans knew about super PACs," said Daniel Riffe, a professor in UNC's School of Journalism and Mass Communication. "Higher recognition in North Carolina this year points to escalating efforts by candidates to frame their opponents as pawns of special interests and media coverage of those groups’ spending. The question is whether greater awareness also means more people become more cynical about truth in politics and political advertising."

Other interesting results from the survey include: 

  • 77 percent of respondents either "somewhat" or "strongly" agree that "news media should help voters recognize ads paid for by super PACs."
  • 46 percent of those surveyed believed national Republicans got the most support from super PACs, 24 percent believed that more Democrats got support from super PACs.
  • Despite opposing such ads, only 41 percent of those surveyed said they could remember seeing "a few" or "a lot" of super PAC ads. 

The margin of error for most questions was plus or minus 4 percentage points.


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  • WRAL_USER Apr 15, 2014

    No money to any politician at any level.
    The same way it is not "free speech" to give money out of your pocket to teachers to teach whatever you want, it is not "free speech" to pay politicians to govern how you see fit. The SCOTUS is wrong and will be overturned when the "Scalia-child" finally retires or dies... By the SCOTUS ruling I can spend my money to influence anything... which is not the correct legal interpretation. Sorry our current SCOTUS is a politically charged debacle and an embarrassment to the nation.

  • notexactly Apr 14, 2014

    View quoted thread

    for once I can agree with you

  • notexactly Apr 14, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Hit the nail on the head

  • glarg Apr 14, 2014

    Oh Boy! A UNC push poll about free speech.

    Really irrelevant since this is settled law- people are allowed to criticize their government. And that government is not allowed to put conditions on that criticism. Any other system would be far worse.

    Of course that doesnt stop the Democrats from attacking the Constitution. What are they afraid of?

  • Joseph Shepard Apr 12, 2014
    user avatar

    Don't forget the love of the Democrats political lives--George Soros, ACORN, MOVEON. etc..

  • Nope Apr 12, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Hagan may lose but your second and third statements make you look silly.

  • early exit Roy Apr 11, 2014

    Did you expect anything else? Both are very liberal schools. Republicans need super pacs to combat the left wing radical news media that are in bed with obama. WRAL is equally as bad as national media.

  • Bill Brasky Apr 11, 2014

    View quoted thread

    That, or there are just more registered Dem voters.

    I guarantee you money has been coming in from out of state for both political parties, and I agree with pretty much everyone commenting today that super PACs are bad for the US....Lets celebrate that!!.. and I'm far more likely to take the opposing view point after hearing them.

  • uBnice Apr 11, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Does that mean that only registered Republicans will be allowed to fight in our next wars in order to defend their privileges here?

  • Jeremy Gilchrist Apr 11, 2014
    user avatar

    Smash the oligarchy! We need a 28th amendment to get the money out and nullify Citizens United along with McCutcheon v. FEC.