It’s political season, but Americans are in no hurry to provide financial support for any political campaigns.
This is the finding from a new study by Lending Tree, which indicates that with the US midterm elections approaching, Americans are preparing to cast their ballots, but many are not withdrawing their cash.
According to the poll, a significant number of American voters do not plan to donate to a political campaign in 2022, and most Americans have never done so.
This is from the study:
· 71% of Americans have never donated to a political campaign, And 66% do not plan to contribute to a single project in 2022.
· Democrats most likely to make a political donation in 2022, With 29% saying they plan to do so. Only 14% of Republicans say they plan to do the same.
· 89% of Americans believe that money has a significant influence in politics. Meanwhile, only 27% of Americans think their political donations make a difference.
· Altogether 59% of Americans say the economy is the most important issue in the upcoming election, With more Republicans than Democrats saying so (68% vs. 52%).
Not surprisingly, the sluggish economy has an army of voters who are interested not in what opinion polls promise, but in what inflation is doing to their family’s finances.
“Inflation is clearly a major concern for consumers,” says Matt Schulze, senior credit analyst at LendingTree. “It really influences everything we do and helps shape our views of how well our current leaders are doing their jobs.”
For some, a donation will motivate them to donate more for the candidate of their choice.
“For others, it may dampen their enthusiasm for a candidate and prevent them from donating anything at all,” Schulz said.
Americans in Political Contributions: Thanks, but No Thanks
Why do so many people choose not to participate in political campaigns, especially with the approaching high-stakes midterm elections?
For two big reasons, experts say.
First, most Americans don’t have enough surplus cash to give to politicians,” said Dan Macmillan, an expert on elections and campaign finance, author of the forthcoming book, Get Money Out of Politics: The Time Is Now. About 56% of Americans are unable to cover an unexpected $1,000 bill in savings, according to a telephone survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted by Bankrate in early January.
Second, the American people are smarter than politicians think.
“Many of us are of the view that candidates need to raise so much money from large dollar donors that our small donations have no bearing on what these candidates do if he takes office,” MacMillan told TheStreet.
Public cynicism about politics is another important reason why Americans don’t open checkbooks and make political donations.
“Politics and politicians are dirty words these days, and this is due to the bad reputation they have brought themselves to over the past years,” said Post Harvest Technologies CEO Jim White. “Main Street Americans don’t trust their hard-earned money to be used to solve real-world problems. Instead, they fear that money will go to the extremes of the political spectrum rather than the middle, where deals are made.”
Additionally, donations to political campaigns are not tax-deductible, considering at least one direct financial reason to support an off-the-table campaign.
“However, you can get a tax deduction by giving many nonprofit advocacy groups that promote the policies they support,” MacMillan said. On their Donations page, these groups will state that donations are tax-deductible or that the nonprofit is a ‘501(c)(3) organization.
If you donated. . .
Once you’ve made any decision to donate to a political campaign, do your due diligence before cutting any checks.
“Some great sites, like OpenSecrets and FollowTheMoney, allow you to see how contributions are directed,” said White, whose company has developed relationships with politicians. “You can clearly see where the money for a particular candidate is coming from and what kind of expenses are being taken. This will allow you to ensure that your money is well spent on a candidate you can trust.”
It is also good to get to know the candidates.
“You don’t just accept their campaign ads, videos, and marketing,” White noted. Politicians should be prepared to meet in person or by phone to discuss your advocacy agenda. Feel free to speak up and make sure they know who you are – and won’t forget you – when they are hopefully elected.”