August 6, 2012

Less Than Half of Public Can Define a Super PAC

40%

Just 40% of Americans can correctly identify a “super PAC” as a group that is able to accept unlimited political donations.

Reflecting the public’s low level of awareness about campaign finance and this year’s election, just 40% can correctly identify a “super PAC” as a group that is able to accept unlimited political donations. Nearly half (46%) don’t know what the term refers to, while 14% give incorrect responses.

Partisan differences in knowledge of the term are modest. Seven-in-ten (70%) of those who have heard a lot about increased campaign spending by outside groups correctly identify a superPAC. That compared with just 30% of those who have heard less about the issue.

A survey conducted July 26-29 also found that the public is hearing little about increased spending by outside groups in the 2012 election. Just 25% have heard a lot about outside spending by groups not officially associated with the candidates or campaigns, while three-quarters are hearing a little (36%) or nothing at all (39%) about this. In fact, the term “super PAC” itself is not widely known. Read More