The Supreme Court announced this week that it would hear McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a case challenging the cap on the total amount that individuals can give to federal candidates as a violation of free speech. This is not an issue that worries most Americans.
In fact, restrictions on both the amount of money Americans can donate to individual federal candidates and the total amount they can donate over a two-year election cycle enjoy broad support from the public, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.
The survey found that only 12 percent of Americans think there should be no limit on the total amount a person can donate to federal candidates. Forty-four percent said the current limit of $46,200 was too high, while 18 percent said it was about right. Another 5 percent said it was too low, and 23 percent said they weren't sure.
Respondents were just as unlikely to say there should be no limit on donations to individual candidates: Only 11 percent agreed with that statement. Thirty-eight percent said the current limit of $2,600 per election was about right, 22 percent said it was too high, and 5 percent said it was too low. (The $2,600 limit has risen since last year and applies separately to the primary and general elections.)
Limits both on donations to individual candidates and on total contributions received support across party lines, with majorities of Democratic, Republican, and independent respondents saying current donation limits were either too high or about right.
The cap on donations to individual candidates is not being challenged in the Supreme Court case. The survey did not ask about the separate cap on donations to political parties and PACs, which is being challenged.
As for the basis of the Supreme Court case, only 16 percent of respondents said that limits on total contributions to candidates were a violation of free speech rights, and 64 percent said they were not. Nearly one-quarter of respondents (23 percent) said money given to candidates was a form of speech protected by the Constitution, though they were outstripped by the 55 percent who said it was not.
On the other hand, 47 percent said individual donation limits help to prevent corruption, while 32 percent said they do not. Although the survey found broad agreement across party lines for donation limits and for the idea that those limits do not violate free speech, the question of whether those limits prevent corruption saw more division. Democrats were the most likely to say limits do help prevent corruption (55 percent to 26 percent). Independents agreed (46 percent to 29 percent). But Republicans said limiting donations has no impact on political corruption (47 percent to 37 percent).
If the Supreme Court nonetheless overturned the contributions cap on First Amendment grounds, it would not be the first time the public disagreed with the court's reasoning in a campaign finance case. A previous HuffPost/YouGov poll found that the vast majority of Americans think spending on election advertising by independent groups, corporations and unions causes political corruption. But the majority of the justices declared in their 2010 Citizens United decision that such spending does not "give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."
The new HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Feb. 19-20 among 1,000 U.S. adults. The poll used a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
Earlier on HuffPost:
The Huntsman Girls
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman's three oldest daughters made a name for themselves by tweeting from the campaign trail using the <a href="http://twitter.com/Jon2012girls" target="_hplink">@jon2012girls</a> account in 2012. Liddy, Mary Anne and Abby, all in their mid-twenties, have steadily gained followers since the campaign. Huntsman's daughters have also done a slew of television interviews, and have produced a few campaign videos of their own--most notably, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOYVB2hc0HA" target="_hplink">a parody</a> of Herman Cain's infamous smoking ad.
Arizona Senator John McCain's daughter was a staple on the campaign circuit in 2008, often blogging about life on the trail. Meghan, who has been vocal on issues like same-sex marriage and abstinence-only education, hoped to help her father connect with the younger generation of voters. The 27-year-old has since parlayed her campaign season fame into a career as a political commentator. She writes a column for the Daily Beast, released a campaign memoir in 2010 and was recently hired as an MSNBC contributor.
The Romney Brothers
Former Massachusetts Governor Romney's five sons, who were a frequent sight on the campaign trail in 2008, have reemerged to support their father in his latest presidential bid. Oldest son Tagg has been giving interviews and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/13/mitt-romneys-son-tagg-to-woo-young-gop-donors_n_1144965.html" target="_hplink">courting</a> young GOP donors, while middle child Josh meets with voters in Iowa. Craig, Mitt's youngest son, has also made a few appearances with his father.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the son of libertarian Ron Paul, has been active in his father's latest presidential campaign. He often sends e-mails on behalf of the elder Paul, a congressman from Texas, and has made appearances on the trail to stump for his dad.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's 20-year-old daughter--shown here during her father's unsuccessful re-election bid in 2006-- was a fixture on her dad's failed 2012 presidential run. Currently a student at the University of Dallas, Elizabeth took time off from her studies to meet with voters in Iowa, host events and give radio interviews.
In 2008, GOP Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin's family made a splash on the campaign trail. The former Alaska governor's five children--Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig--often appeared at campaign events with their mom, even after news broke that teenage Bristol was pregnant.
Beau, Delaware's Attorney General, introduced his soon-to-be-VP dad Joe at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. His speech, which detailed the auto accident that killed his mother and sister, moved some delegates to tears.
Mike Huckabee's daughter, Sarah, took on a bigger role in her father's campaign than the usual routine of stump speeches and photo-ops. She acted as her dad's field director and top campaign adviser, and reportedly played an integral role in her dad's surprising Iowa caucus win.
Cate first started campaigning with her dad, a former Senator from North Carolina, while an undergrad at Princeton in 2004. During his 2008 campaign, she started making campaign stops on her own in key states like New Hampshire. After news of her father's affair broke, her role took a decidedly different turn as she stood by Edwards during his perp walk from a Winston-Salem courthouse.
The Bush Twins
The Bush Twins were notably absent on the trail in 2000, but became more publicly involved in George W. Bush's reelection campaign in 2004. They made appearances on their father's bus tour through swing states, and worked at the campaign's Arlington headquarters.