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Fighting corruption polls off the charts

A huge majority of Americans favor aggressive measures to stem the influence of money in politics, according to new poll results.
Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Case Involving Donor Limits To Political Campaigns
A protester waves a flag with corporate logos and fake money during a rally against money in politics, at the Supreme Court in Washington, on Oct. 8, 2013 in Washington, DC.

A huge majority of Americans favor aggressive measures to stem the influence of money in politics, according to new poll results. The survey also suggests that framing the issue as an effort to fight corruption could help win even more support for the cause.

The poll, commissioned by the group and obtained exclusively by msnbc, found that 90% of respondents said they’d support a law that imposes tough new campaign finance laws. When “campaign finance” was changed to “corruption,” that figure rose  to 97%, with 72% saying they would strongly support such laws.

There was essentially no partisan difference on the issue: 82% of Democrats and 83% of Republicans said reducing corruption is important.

Other results offer similar takeaways: 71% of respondents—including nearly 80% of independents—said the election system is biased in favor of the candidate with more money. And 51% believe most politicians are corrupt.

The poll also tested the popularity of some potential reforms, giving respondents a menu of 11 options and asking them to pick three. Forty-seven percent picked barring politicians from taking money from industries they regulate—an additional sign, perhaps, that the potential for corruption is at the heart of voters’ concerns about money in politics. Thirty-seven percent picked dramatically reducing the amount of money lobbyists can give to candidates and parties, while 31% picked putting tough limits on super PACs. wants legislation that would reduce the power of money in politics, and seeks to reframe the issue around the corruption idea. “Corruption is un-American” reads the tagline on its website. Among the group’s advisers are Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard professor and internet activist, and former Federal Elections Commission chair Trevor Potter.

The poll results come at a time of uncertainty for efforts to limit the role of money in politics. The issue has long polled relatively well, but has struggled to gain traction on Capitol Hill, where many incumbents are wary of changing the rules of a game that has worked to their advantage. Meanwhile, in the wake of the 2010 Citizens United decision, more money than ever is flowing into elections, much of it undisclosed. And the Supreme Court could be poised to strike down another key pillar of campaign-finance law in McCutcheon v. FEC.