(CNN) - A new poll suggests that the new attacks by Democrats against Republicans over the use of anonymous donations may be registering with voters.
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and other top officials at the Democratic National Committee over the past week have criticized independent organizations for raising and spending big bucks this election cycle in support of Republican candidates and causes, without disclosing some of their donors.
The organizations, and other top Republicans have fired back, saying the Democrats accusations are baseless and that campaign finance laws allow for the identity of some donors to be kept secret, if the groups are set up as tax-exempt non-profit organizations.
A Bloomberg national poll indicates that 47 percent of Americans say they would be less likely to support a particular candidate if his or her campaign was aided by advertising paid for by anonymous business groups, with nine percent saying they would be more likely to back such a candidate and 41 percent saying that it would not matter.
Many of the groups are using the money they raise to pay for television commercials and get out the vote efforts, supplementing efforts already underway by the Republican party and the individual campaigns. Money by groups supporting Republicans greatly outnumbers cash by such organizations backing Democrats this election cycle.
The groups are structured as a tax-exempt "social welfare" 501(c)(4) organizations. As part of its tax exempt status, the organizations are allowed to both raise unlimited amounts of money and keep the names and organizations of their contributors secret – an allowance that facilitates groups of this type to raise considerably more money than standard so-called 527 groups which have to report their donors.
The Bloomberg national poll was conducted October 7-10, with 721 likely voters across the country questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for likely voters is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.