Conservative Pollster: Republican Voters Favor Judicial Public Financing Program, Oppose Lawmakers Who Would Kill It

A new survey by a Republican polling firm indicates widespread support for judicial public financing, a program North Carolina state legislators currently threaten to cut in the upcoming budget bill.

The judicial public financing program reduces the risk of out-of-control spending on judicial elections. The program also levels the playing field for women and minorities, groups who have been historically underrepresented in the judiciary. A majority of the NC Supreme Court justices are now women for the first time in history – and all have used the program to win their elections. Overall, 80 percent of appellate court candidates have used public financing, including all four African-Americans appellate judges elected since 2004 and eight of the ten Republicans who won contested elections.

Voter support for the program is broad and pervasive across party lines. Overall, 68 percent of voters say they are less likely to vote for a state legislator who supports more money in judicial elections. This sentiment is strongest with conservative Democrats, 83 percent of whom agree with the statement. Republicans and Independents agree, with 62 percent and 63 percent respectively saying they are less likely to support a legislator who votes against public financing.

Major takeaways:

  • Overall, 70 percent of NC voters support public financing of elections because it has helped women and minorities win more judicial races under the system.
  • 56 percent of voters support the program because cutting it would give special interests more power in the courtroom.
  • 53 percent support public financing of elections because former governors from both parties proposed the program and continue to endorse it.

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