Poll Shows New Mexico Business Leaders Urge More Campaign Finance Transparency

BUSINESS News:

WASHINGTON, D.C./ALBUQUERQUE – Today, a poll of New Mexico business leaders was released showing serious concern about the lack of transparency in the state’s government and campaign finance system.

The poll shows overwhelming support for reform amid serious concerns among the business community over the lopsided influence of political donors compared to every day voters. The poll was commissioned by the Committee for Economic Development (CED) of The Conference Board, a nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization, and conducted by Research & Polling, Inc.

Highlights from the poll of more than 300 state business executives include the following:

  • 71 percent believe that more transparency is needed in disclosing political contributions;
  • 87 percent believe that political donors have more influence than average voters;
  • 53 percent believe that they have a great deal more influence;
  • 68 percent believe that companies gain some economic advantage in the marketplace by spending on political campaigns; and
  • 59 percent believe that New Mexico’s elected officials are more responsive to lobbyists than voters.

“We polled over 300 leaders from a range of industries across New Mexico,” said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research and Polling, Inc. “Their strong concern on issues of transparency and contributor influence suggests that the business community may be a potent voice for state reform.”

Those surveyed show considerable support for the following transparency-increasing proposals:

  • 89 percent support a requirement that political contributions and expenditures from all sources be made public;
  • 86 percent support a requirement for lobbyists to make public the bills or issues for which they have been hired to advocate; and
  • 76 percent support the creation of an independent ethics commission to oversee the ethical behavior of state officials.

“Our democracy depends on the electorate having trust in the system, but these results reinforce the impression that the well-funded and well-connected have disproportionate sway,” said Ray Smith, chairman for the Albuquerque Economic Development and president of Klinger Construction. “The numbers make clear that business leaders all across the state support sensible proposals to turn the course, especially requiring more disclosure.”

“Effective state government requires the confidence of the public and the business community,” said Simon Brackley, president and CEO of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce. “The adoption of thoughtful transparency and ethics proposals will improve the efficacy of New Mexico state government and, hopefully, promote greater engagement.”

CED’s poll of New Mexico business leaders was conducted Feb. 2-18. The poll and its methodology can be viewed here.

Founded in 1942, the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization that delivers well-researched analysis and reasoned solutions to our nation’s most critical issues. CED’s work is grounded on seven core principles: sustainable capitalism, long-term economic growth, efficient fiscal and regulatory policy, competitive and open markets, a globally competitive workforce, equal economic opportunity, and nonpartisanship in the nation’s interest. Learn more at www.ced.org.

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