Idahoans strongly support reforms to the state’s campaign finance laws that would ban gifts from lobbyists and campaign donations to anyone doing business with the state, among other ethical issues, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.

The Dan Jones & Associates survey finds that 79 percent of Idahoans support such reforms, 16 percent oppose and 6 percent don’t know.

A citizen initiative petition dealing with these issues is being proposed for this November’s ballot, with supporters saying they already have the 48,000 voter signatures required.

The new poll results should be a boon for the initiative effort, for it shows super-majority support for the proposed reforms.

Idaho already has campaign donation limits for legislative and statewide offices, like governor and attorney general.

The limits (listed here) could be further tightened, however.

And questions of penalties for violating the law are also being examined.

And there are not limits to how much a person or business can give to a political action committee or a state political party – although those entities do have limits that they, in turn, can give to a candidate.

Jones asked: “Do you support or oppose an overhaul of Idaho’s campaign finance laws that would ban lobbyists from giving gifts to lawmakers, prohibit donations from anyone doing business with the state, limit contributions to candidates, and increase penalties?”

Gifts to legislators from lobbyists have been an issue for some time.

The current law requires that registered lobbyists file financial disclosure reports on how much they spent on entertainment and such things.

But these are only totals and don’t detail on whom the money was spent.

Jones finds that a super-majority of Idahoans want more disclosure in which public officials are taking what from whom.

And the greater disclosure (or bans) are wanted across the political spectrum:

  • 76 percent of Idaho Republicans want greater disclosure, or outright bans, on political giving and gifts.
  • 18 percent of Republicans oppose such reforms, and 5 percent don’t know.
  • 80 percent of Democrats (currently out of power in the Legislature and most major offices) want more disclosure or bans.
  • Only 11 percent of Democrats oppose such reforms, and 9 percent don’t know.
  • 80 percent of political independents (don’t belong to any party) favor such changes.
  • 15 percent oppose and 5 percent of independents don’t know.

Education plays a part in the desires for greater disclosure or bans:

  • 70 percent of those with just a high school degree want more disclosure.
  • While 82 percent of those with an advanced college degree – like a lawyer or accountant – favor greater disclosure.

Jones polled 603 adults from May 18 to June 4. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.99 percent.