The Transparency Blog

Attention Politicians: Campaigning On Financial Transparency Wins Elections

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Campaigning on financial transparency will win elections. America, is in fact, hungry for it. The highly respected George Washington University Battleground Poll, March 16-20, 2014 asked a simple question:


QUESTION: Would you be more likely or less likely to support a candidate who was committed to providing financial transparency for government spending so you could see how tax dollars are being spent?


Answer Percentage
More likely / strongly 66%
And is that strongly or More likely / somewhat 26%
More likely / UNSURE 2%
Less likely / somewhat 3%
Less likely / strongly 1%


I can't remember in over twenty years of politics a number that is as significant. It is also worth noting that literally no one is against a candidate who campaigns on giving people the 'right to know' where their tax dollars are being spent.


This result is consistent with other surveys that reveal that people's trust in their government is low. Ask yourself this question: "Do you feel like you are getting more for your tax dollars today than in the past?" We hear daily that American students are struggling in school, roads have more potholes, and government services seem to be less customer focused.

Individuals seeking office for the first time will have a great issue on which to campaign. Incumbents can stay ahead of the 'right to know' movement by embracing technology which gives citizens the ability, really for the first time, to literally see individual expenses in context and in an organized fashion (and not allow their challenger to defeat them on this issue).

And you don't have to have a specific party or ideological label to embrace the political benefits. Subgroups in the poll reinforce why this is such a powerful political issue.

Remember, these numbers reflect the More Likely/Strongly, the most intense answer offered in the survey. Adding in More Likely/Somewhat (which gives you voter directional intentions) moves these already strong numbers into the polling stratosphere.


Break down by Race for those who answered "More Likely/Strongly"


Race Percentage
Black / African American 63%
White / Caucasian 66%
Hispanic / Latino 73%


Break down by Party Identification for those who answered "More Likely/Strongly"


Party Percentage
Independent 67%
Democrat 63%
Republican 70%


Break down by Ideology for those who answered "More Likely/Strongly"


Ideology Percentage
Conservative 67%
Liberal 67%


Break down by Labor Background for those who answered "More Likely/Strongly"


Labor Background Percentage
Union Household 67%
Non-Union Household 66%


Break down by Marital Status for those who answered "More Likely/Strongly"


Marital Status Percentage
Single 64%
Maried 67%
No longer married 68%


Break down by Economic CLass for those who answered "More Likely/Strongly"


Economic Class Percentage
Middle Class 66%
Low Income 64%
Upper Class 82%


Break down by Economic CLass -Race - Marital Status for those who answered "More Likely/Strongly"


Economic Class - Race - Marital Status Percentage
Middle class white married 65%
Middle class African American married 74%
Middle class Hispanic married 74%


Break down by Geographic Areas of America for those who answered "More Likely/Strongly"


Geographic Areas of America Percentage
Northeast 66%
Midwest 58%
South 68%
South Central 68%
Central Plains 59%
Mountain States 80%
West 70%
California 70%
Florida 74%
Texas 65%
New York 64%


Break down by Gubernatorial Election Status by State for those who answered "More Likely/Strongly"


Economic Class - Race - Marital Status Percentage
GOP held seat up 64%
Democratic seat up 67%
No Gubernatorial election 69%


Break down by Likelihood of Voting in Upcoming Election for those who answered "More Likely/Strongly"


Extremely likely (to vote) Percentage
Very likely (to vote) 70%
Democratic seat up 60%
Somewhat likely (to vote) 63%


I could stop right here. The depth of support for financial transparency speaks for itself. Campaign and enact it -- you win.


Letting people know where their tax dollars are being spent will also help overcome the partisan edge of today's politics. It will help elected leaders make better decisions.

We now have the technology to make real-time transparency possible.

This poll (and others) reveal how interested Americans are in knowing where their money is being spent and what results are being achieved. And the strength of the numbers means the interest is strong and important.

Those politicians who embrace this hunger for knowledge by campaigning on this issue will, themselves, be embraced on Election Day with overwhelming victory at the polls.

Let the campaign begin!

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