Americans report a bipartisan desire for transparent political financing laws

More than three-quarters believe political ads should report who paid for them

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, February 18, 2019 — An Ipsos poll on behalf of the Center for Public Integrity reveals bipartisan agreement for transparent political financing laws and dissatisfaction with the role of money in politics. Two-thirds of Americans believe that American presidential campaigns should occur over a limited time frame compared to just 14% of whom believing there should be no limit to campaign time lengths. Between Democrats (72%) and Republicans (68%), agreement is nearly the same. 

Americans also advocate transparency in the election system with 88% believing political TV ads should be required to say who paid for the ad and 87% believing online ads should be required to say who paid for the ad. Compared to a similar survey last year, the rate of agreement remains nearly the same (85% for TV ads and 84% for online ads), but the intensity of agreement has increased, showing Americans have become even more in favor of political transparency. A December 2017 survey showed that 57% of Americans strongly believe TV ads should say who paid for them and the same proportion believe online ads should say so. Comparatively, this year’s survey shows 64% and 65% of Americans are in strong agreement with each statement, respectively. 

In the same one-year timespan, Americans report a slight decrease in their belief that American elections are fair and open. Less than half (42%) believe elections are fair and open compared to 50% of Americans who believed so last year. When Americans think of elections, they place a great deal of emphasis on the influence of money. Sixty-five percent of Americans believe that politicians need a lot of money to win elections and even more (85%) believe that elected officials return favors for those who contribute greatly to their campaigns. Americans aren’t optimistic about changing money’s role in politics with 59% reporting that they believe powerful people will always find a way to use their wealth to gain political influence. At the same time, however, 64% recognize that being able to donate money to political campaigns is a vital form of free speech.

About the Study

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted January 23 - 24, 2019. For the survey, a sample of 1,005 Americans age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 358 Republicans, 336 Democrats, and 202 Independents.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education. 

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online nonprobability sampling polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,005, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=5.0). 

The poll also has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.9 percentage points for Republicans, plus or minus 6.1 percentage points for Democrats, and plus or minus 7.9 percentage points for Independents. 

For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can  download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or 
contact us.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

Mallory Newall
Director, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014
[email protected]

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. Through our media partnerships, Ipsos Public Affairs is a leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and internationally. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.
With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,780.5 million in 2017.

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs

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