New CCP Issue Analysis: Tax-Financed Campaigns Fail to Increase Political Competitiveness

States with taxpayer-funded campaigns have more candidates – but incumbents still dominate

Alexandria, VA – Subsidizing candidate campaigns with tax dollars does not increase the odds of unseating an incumbent on Election Day. That’s the key finding of a new Issue Analysis released today by the Center for Competitive Politics, America’s largest nonprofit defending First Amendment political free speech rights.

“Taxpayer-funded campaigns are a bad deal that keeps looking worse,” said CCP President David Keating. “In addition to forcing taxpayers to fund speech they disagree with, these schemes appear to have no measurable impact on re-election rates.”

CCP analyzed every state legislative campaign in all 50 states from 2010 to 2016. After dividing states into two groups – those with tax-financed campaign programs (Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, and Minnesota) and those without – CCP found no statistically significant difference in incumbent re-election rates between the two groups.

“When states promise free money for political campaigns, it shouldn’t be surprising that more people decide to run for office. What is really striking is that this doesn’t do much of anything to help challengers win,” said CCP Research Fellow Joe Albanese. “Those who say tax financing will fundamentally change the political system don’t have evidence to support this claim.”

To read the Issue Analysis by Albanese, please go to: http://ifs.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/2017-06-05_Issue-Analysis-10_Albanese_Do-Taxpayer-Funded-Campaigns-Increase-Political-Competitiveness.pdf.

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.