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Public Funding Of Congressional Campaigns Widely Favored

First Posted: 09/28/10 06:17 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:50 PM ET

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Voters in battleground districts strongly favor legislation that would let congressional campaigns be funded by the public, according to a new survey released Tuesday by Lake Research Partners. The margin of support was 65 percent to 18 percent.

"These are very, very strong numbers," Democratic pollster and political strategist Celinda Lake told reporters on a conference call Tuesday afternoon. "Every single demographic showed more than 2 to 1 support for the proposal."

Among Democrats 76 percent supported the legislation while only 11 percent opposed it. Republicans supported it 56 percent to 25 percent.

The survey found that 30 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who opposes the Fair Elections Act, though 53 percent said such opposition makes no difference.

Now the campaign, which is run by organizations like Change Congress, Common Cause and the Public Campaign Action Fund, is focused on pressuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other lawmakers to push the legislation to a floor vote.

"Millions of Americans are being mobilized this week to push the House for a vote on the Fair Elections Now Act as soon as they can get it on the floor," said David Donnelly, campaign manager for the Campaign for Fair Elections. "Across the country, people are telling their members of Congress and House leadership that they want to take elections back from the special interests."

The legislation has the support of 165 House members, including lead sponsors Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.).

Meanwhile off of Capitol Hill, 27 wealthy donors have vowed to withhold campaign contributions from any lawmakers who fail to support the Fair Elections legislation.

Steve Kirsch, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who contributed about $10 million to Al Gore in 2000 spoke with HuffPost's Ryan Grim.

"It is a trade off, because there are a lot of good things you can talk to them about, but most of the time they don't do anything about it anyway," said Kirsch. "Given the choice, I'd rather have campaign finance reform than access."

Politico reported Tuesday that more than 400 fundraisers are scheduled for House candidates in the two weeks before Congress adjourns.

The Fair Elections Now Act was passed by the Committee on House Administration on Sept. 23.

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