Much ado about … nothing?
A new survey from Pew Research Center and the Washington Post finds that the general public doesn’t know all that much about super PACs.
We know, this isn’t exactly breaking news, but the figure that we found most interesting was that nearly half (48%) of survey respondents had “no opinion” on the increase in spending by outside groups during this election. But who can blame them for not having a specific opinion — 46% didn’t know what a super PAC was in the first place.
Our Consider the Source reporters conducted a substantially less scientific poll on the Fourth of July in Washington, D.C., where they asked people on camera if they’d heard of super PACs. All in all, we thought the respondents there did fairly well with their knowledge of campaign finance, but there were a few awesome exceptions.
The general public may not know about them but they are the targets of persuasion (and fearmongering) that the funders of super PACs are financing. The airwaves will be full of negative ads financed by super PACs and, being ignorant, the public may think the candidates are responsible for the profusion of ads and wonder why they’re being so nasty.
Bottom line is that nearly half of the American public isn’t even aware of who’s trying to buy their vote and those that do know about super PACs have no opinion on the effect they will have on the election.
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