Objective: Although campaign finance is a growing concern, pollsters rarely ask the public about reform. We use the variation in public support for campaign finance reform to determine factors important to collective policy preference formation.
Methods: Using a national survey, we factor analyze the latent dimensions of various reforms, and rely on an experimental design to explain the role cultural theory, policy narratives, and political knowledge plays in preference formation.
Results: The reform debate groups along two dimensions: adding or removing limitations, or ending the dependence on money altogether. We show policy narratives are most influential, and cultural theory has more explanatory value, among those with higher levels of political knowledge, and policy narratives tend to increase support among those who already support reform, and mitigate the opposition from other cultural types.
Conclusion: If it were up to the public, prospects for campaign finance reform, even public financing, would be high.
Jorgensen, Paul and Jones, Michael and Song, Geoboo, Prospects for Campaign Finance Reform: The Role of Policy Narratives, Cultural Predispositions, and Political Knowledge in Collective Policy Preference Formation (September 25, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2665538 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2665538