As the 2016 presidential race begins, 84 percent of Americans think money has too much influence in political campaigns now. Criticism of the role of money cuts across party lines - large majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents all think money has too much influence.
Most Americans see widespread problems with how election campaigns are funded in the United States. Forty-six percent think the system for funding political campaigns has so much wrong with it that it needs to be rebuilt completely, and another 39 percent think that while there are good things in the system, fundamental changes are needed. Just 13 percent of Americans think only minor changes are needed.
Americans across the political spectrum are critical of the way campaigns are financed, but independents are the most negative. Fifty-one percent of independents think the system must be completely rebuilt. And 46 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans agree.
On the surface it seems extremely simple: five out of six Americans think money has too much influence on politicians. But like gun control or climate change, Americans just don't give enough of a damn to make fixing it a priority.
Most who think changes are needed are not optimistic that such changes will be forthcoming: 58 percent are pessimistic that changes will actually be made.
Nevertheless, very few Americans prioritize campaign finance over other domestic issues when asked to name the most important problem facing the country today. Americans' top issue priority continues to be the economy and jobs; health care and immigration follow. Less than one percent volunteer campaign fundraising as the most important issue facing the country.
It's hard to care even remotely about the billions going to pay off our politicians when you're out of work and can't put food on the table, I guess.