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Campaign Finance and American DemocracyWhat the Public Really Thinks and Why It Matters$
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David M. Primo and Jeffrey D. Milyo

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226712802

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226713137.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

The Uninformed Public

The Uninformed Public

Chapter:
(p.37) Chapter Three The Uninformed Public
Source:
Campaign Finance and American Democracy
Author(s):

David M. Primo

Jeffrey D. Milyo

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226713137.003.0003

In this chapter, Primo and Milyo show that Americans are for the most part poorly informed about campaign finance. They don’t understand campaign finance laws, think they have more political privacy than they do, and vastly overstate the role of super PACs. While there are some differences based on ideology, party identification, demographics, and socioeconomic status, even the most politically active members of Primo and Milyo’s sample don’t do better than a dart-throwing monkey. This does not stop Americans from having opinions on the role of money in the American political system—and these opinions are relevant, especially given the Supreme Court’s emphasis on perceptions of government as a justification for campaign finance restrictions.

Keywords:   political knowledge, political privacy, super PACs, campaign finance laws

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