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Poll finds little public interest in taxpayer-funded campaign system

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- The public’s support for plans to use their tax money to finance political campaigns is still being opposed by a majority of registered voters, a new poll has found.

The Quinnipiac University poll out today shows 53 percent of registered voters oppose public financing of campaigns for governor, other statewide offices and the Legislature. Thirty-seven percent favor the idea, down from a high of 45 percent last June.

The poll results come as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and some lawmakers are pushing new plans to publicly finance campaigns. Cuomo has not released his specific proposals, though Assembly Democrats unveiled their new idea in actual legislation yesterday. Republicans who partially control the Senate have long opposed the taxpayer financed election system idea.

The Quinnipiac poll suggests voters have been un-moved by claims by Cuomo and Assembly Democrats and Senate Democrats that public financing will be a component to help clean up Albany’s reputation as a capital of corruption over the past 10 years.
The poll found voters, by a 55 percent to 35 percent margin, do not believe public financing of campaigns will help reduce political corruption.

In an interview this morning on a public radio show, Cuomo said he understands that some voters might feel bitter about their tax money going to help politicians advance their careers. "I understand the response in a poll. I think getting money out of politics is going to be helpful, so I support public (campaign) finance," Cuomo said.

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