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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: 02 December 2021

The Pragmatic Public

The Pragmatic Public

(p.100) Chapter Six The Pragmatic Public
Campaign Finance and American Democracy

David M. Primo

Jeffrey D. Milyo

University of Chicago Press

In this chapter, Primo and Milyo delve more deeply into the question of public support for reform. They find that the public has a fairly nuanced view of reform. While Americans support campaign finance reform in the abstract, this support dips once Americans are asked about specific regulations or the overall efficacy of reforms. In fact, only about one-third of respondents in Primo and Milyo’s 2015 survey believe that even the “right package of reforms” will reduce public corruption in any meaningful way. And the public is very skeptical about certain reforms, such as the public financing of campaigns. This chapter also highlights the deep partisan and ideological divisions on the issue of campaign finance, as well as the role that misinformation about campaign finance plays in support for campaign finance restrictions.

Keywords:   campaign spending, campaign finance laws, campaign finance disclosure, super PACs, political information, turnout, trust in government

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