Poll: Americans Unfamiliar With Super PACs

Despite the enormous influence of Super PACs in the 2012 campaign, a huge majority of Americans have either heard only “a little” or “nothing at all” about the proliferation of spending by outside groups in this year’s presidential election, according to a new poll released Thursday.

The poll from Pew Research, in collaboration with the Washington Post, shows that 25 percent of Americans have heard “a lot” about increased spending in this year’s presidential election by outside groups unaffiliated with a candidate’s campaign, known as Super PACs.  Thirty-six percent said they have heard “a little” about the spike in spending by outside groups, while 39 percent have heard “nothing at all.”  Moreover, when given four choices as to what constitutes a Super PAC, 40 percent correctly identified it as “a group able to accept unlimited political donations,” but 46 percent said they have no opinion.

Super PACs have already played a significant role in the 2012 presidential election.  Restore Our Future, the Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, buried his Republican rivals with an avalanche of ads during the party’s nomination contest earlier this year, and the group is poised to continue its domination on the airwaves through the November election.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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