Support for lobbyists, Super PACs up, new poll finds

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New polling from The Public Affairs Council discovered a slight rise in support from Americans for super PACs and corporate lobbying — when they learn how lobbying is used.

The Public Affairs Council, a nonpartisan, nonpolitical government affairs trade group representing public affairs professionals, found that fully half of Americans (50 percent) say they are less favorable towards companies that hire lobbyists.

That is, until respondents discover what lobbyists actually accomplish.

Then, when asked about situations where lobbyists are actually used, public support significantly increases. Eighty-four percent of Americans accept corporate lobbying when used to protect jobs, and 79 percent favor lobbying to open access to new markets.

Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of respondents favor advocacy used to level the playing field, and 68 percent say lobbying is appropriate for lowering business costs.

Even 56 percent of Americans said they supported lobbying for obtaining government funding.

“In 2012, the last time this question was asked, a majority of respondents also approved of these same reasons for lobbying, but surprisingly, support has grown since then,” according to a release by the association that was reported in POLITICO.

Support for Super PACs rises 10 percentage points since the last survey, in 2013. The poll also finds that 56 percent of American adults approve of super PAC contributions – a full 10 points up from the 46 percent professing support for super PAC donations in 2013.

Three-quarters of respondents (75 percent) are okay with traditional political action committee donations, and 87 percent support candidates who self-fund.

Alternatively, 47 percent of Americans reports that a company forming a PAC makes them feel less favorable toward the organization.

The survey interviewed 1,609 adults in a telephone poll nationwide on June 16-29 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Full results of the survey are available at http://pac.org/pulse/

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.