October 13th, 2010
01:09 PM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Nearly half bothered by anonymous donations

(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.

Filed under: 2010 • Democrats • Fundraising • Polls • Republicans
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Kenneth

    Donors should be identified and contributions should be transparent FOR all PARTIES! The economy is unstable and we have people who are more interested in putting money in the pockets of politicians than stabilizing the economy. EXCESSIVE Political Contributions = CORRUPTION

    October 13, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. Brian

    Rove and cronies are using "social welfare" as a sham for POLITICAL ACTIVIST. One more reason he needs to be in jail and one more reason to NOT vote for any party of no candidate.

    October 13, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    These PACs are on both sides of the political spectrum. They pay into both sides so no matter who wins the special interests own that representative. The biggest loser is the American People!
    Where are the choices? Where do the American voters look to for relief from the out of control Congress and the size of the government and the size of the debt? Who do we trust? The Democrats? The GOP? No both of these parties are no longer representing the people. Both of these parties are bought and paid for by the Special interest groups, PACs, Unions, Wall Street, banking, global Corporations are all contributing billions to re-election funds that undermine the people's representation.

    October 13, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. Jan

    If I give to a political party it is taxed so I don't understand why the big corporations and rich individuals can get by without being taxed on their contributions and on top of that they don't have to disclose their identity. If I know that someone is hiding and afraid to disclose who they are getting their support from I definitely won't vote for them. The spread between the rich and the not so rich has just been getting wider and hopefully people will wake up before it is too late.

    October 13, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. normajean

    If this were the other way around and the Democrats were recieving huge sums of money from anonymous sources, we'd have John Boehner on every TV channel yelling and condemming the action. They'd be demanding complete disclosure. Just once I wish the Repubs could show a little integrity and play the game without cheating. They have long ago forgotten what it is to have honor and dignity.

    October 13, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. timz

    This country is no longer a functioning democracy. Government is for sale from top to bottom.

    October 13, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. 21 Days until Corporate Foreign Influence is Defeated along with The Republicans

    Make sure you vote for the Republican candidate so we can keep outsourcing America jobs overseas.

    This ad has been brought and paid for by the Chamber of Commerce – China Division

    October 13, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. ska

    I wonder how much BP is kicking in for Republicans unde rthe cover of dark?

    October 13, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. ATL Guy

    I am bothered by the influx and influence of these anonymous dollars.

    October 13, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Jd

    So long as the 47% didn't vote for Obama, I understand their position. If they did, that's not an opinion, it's partisanship.

    October 13, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. Call_Me_Conservative

    It's an entirely different story when George Soros decides not to pump his money into the Democratic camp, and the Dems don't have the big bucks in thier coffers. In 2008 they had plenty of outrage against disclosing the source of Obama campaign funds. Now that the Republicans are on the receiving end of major donations, they all of a sudden want disclosure. What a bunch of whiners and hypocrites. Anything to take the focus off of the issues of jobs, economy, etc.

    October 13, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. S. in California

    Add me as one of those "bothered" people. Republicans think anyone who is not white and rich are unAmerican. They are ones to talk aren't they? They are pigs who will stop at nothing to bring down our president and this country (if necessary) to regain control. Anyone who does not make over $500,000 a year and votes republican deserves what they get. They are bandits without any moral or ethical consciouses whatsoever. Show me a REAL fiscal conservative and I'll give them some time. This group of evil, corrupt money grabbers won't get anything from me. Crooks, liars and pigs. All of them. I wish they would ALL take their unAmerican a$$es across the border and disappear. This country could really start to get back on track and their jobs could be given to deserving people.

    October 13, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. JOhn

    Election fraud seems to be the only thing the repuclicans do well.

    October 13, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. lc

    So what about all the anonymous online donations the president and other politicians have received. The Dems would like to make you think that they are the most honest. Lets be honest with ourselves, they are ALL crooks.

    October 13, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Georgia

    You better believe we are "bothered" by the sell out of America to foreign companies and their government. Rove is a shyster that cut his teeth on Saudi money, he and Gillespie both are garbage. The middle class better wake up because IF the GOP regains control, we can bend over and kiss our few jobs that are left good bye.

    October 13, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Ferrett out the BS

    Fox News and the American Chamber of Commerce have taken the new SC ruling on foreign contributions to political campaigns to heart. Never before has such a preponderance of expensive political advertising assaulted the viewer. Foreign governments, corporations, and individuals are in the process of controlling this country through it's political process. Is that what everyone wants? Just say no, vote Democratic.

    October 13, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. Scot

    I would think that any citizen of this great country would be upset with the buying of votes by these corporate lobbists !

    October 13, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. HyenaKiller

    Great, let's see who donates to obama and the democrats then. Obama is an idiot, democrats are pigs. And the only reason obama and Thug Inc are pursing this course of action is so that they can get a list of people to sic their goons on Americans that don't support this pig of President. This election we will make our voices heard, and it will say with one LOUD VOICE. NO MORE OBAMA, NO MORE DEMOCRATS!!

    October 13, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. ddt

    Blame this on the rightwing supreme court. They stole elections for Republicans in 2000 for GW BUSH they are now trying to steal elections by allowing Republicans get money from special intereste groups. John Roberts and the other right wing clawns changed the law that was prohiting any groups to donate money without diclosing their names. That is what is happening right now. Not until there is a chnge in the suprime court, Republicans will still have an advantenge and always steal elections

    October 13, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Dean

    The GOP is raising more money because of Obama...duh. In 2008, Obama raised more than $200 million from 'small' donors. These 'individuals' often contibuted $25 each. What's interesting, is that most of them had the same name on their checks. Talk about calling the kettle black...

    Vote Republican.

    October 13, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. Denny

    People should be bothered that candidates are backed by unions and organizations like Moveon.org, but where's the flap about them been for all these years when they had the playground to themselves? Unions really bother me because they know it's an investment – they'll get paid back by things like Obama requiring signficant projects to use union labor.

    October 13, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Hugo

    I think campaign funding, term limits, voting rights all need to be reformed. If the media gave all candidates the same amount of air time we would get all we need, if politicians were there for a community service rather than a career it would be better for all, and if you receive some types of Federal assistance and pay no taxes you shouldn't be able to vote, who is gonna vote against free money even if it is necessary for the betterment of our society?

    October 13, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. mat

    I guess this is what they mean by the pot calling the kettle black.

    October 13, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Dave

    Nearly half!? Everyone in America should be worried because with anonymity in politics comes corruption of the worst kind.

    October 13, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. vic nashville tn

    I join with 47%
    This year we start with balance the budget now it took a wrong direction
    Now we are talking about social issues
    Political newcomers in democrats have clear view how to solve our problems but their voices silence by these ads

    October 13, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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