How political campaigns are financed directly affects every citizen in the United States. This can be attributed to the fact that campaign money is correlated to the laws that pass through congress and the interests that are taken into consideration. After the passage of Citizens United in 2010, campaign donation caps were lifted to allow for virtual unregulated money in politics with PACs, Super PACs and 501(c)(4)s. Although the 2010 passage of Citizens United has increased the influence of corporate and wealthy interests, individual campaign donations represent a major percentage of funds raised and are heavily relied upon. The present study investigates what type of individual makes these political contributions based on household income, education level, age, gender, race, political party identification and trust in government. It then delves deeper into the specifics of the Citizens United V FEC Supreme Court case of 2010, how that changed the political landscape, and how that affected public opinion and American sentiment towards the current financial system. The study will build upon past research as well as compiling and analyzing data collection from the 2012 ANES time series election study to find the largest demographic of contributors and the motives behind the donations. Analyze how Citizens United is effecting the American political campaign finance system and gauge the sentiment of the nation and how the are feeling towards the most recent campaign finance developments. I believe that the knowledge acquired from my findings will paint a clearer picture of who is directly affecting politics and the population as a whole. I hope it also reveals why the demographic make up of our representatives looks the ways it does and reflects the type of policy passed by our legislators. After completing my research I have found that the majority of contributors are white males above the age of 55 with a post high school education. These individuals are also part of the middle and upper middle class, identify with the Democratic Party and have some skepticism of the integrity and honesty of the government in Washington. I have also found the Citizens United case has currently made a mild impact on the campaign finance system, but the overall public opinion is virtually unanimous on the fact that there is too much money in politics and everyday American’s are losing their voice when it comes to their representatives.
Sherman, Geneva, "Campaign Finance Makes America Go ‘Round: Individual Campaign Contributions and the Effects of Citizens United on the American Election System" (2015). Student Research Day Abstracts and Posters. 183.
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