Did Super PAC spending affect Minnesota constitutional amendment - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Did Super PAC spending affect Minnesota constitutional amendment vote?


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The 2012 election saw spending reach historic heights, and both sides of the battle with Minnesota's two constitutional amendments received significant monetary support. But which side raised the most? And did the money make an impact?

This election brought to the mainstream the Super PACs. In the case of the two amendments here in Minnesota, the Super PACs got their hands dirty.

The momentum for both Minnesota constitutional amendments swung back and forth all summer, in large part to financial backing from different sources.

"When you look at the nature of the amendments, it started off as a movement in order to get these things into the constitution, and they would've had a head start," said Chad Israelson, a political analyst and professor at Rochester Technical and Community College.

The campaigns for both amendments were backed by Super PACs both in and out of the state.

Out of the reported funds, for the voter ID amendment, nearly $80,000 was spent to get it passed. Just under $70,000 was spent to vote it down. For the marriage amendment, $2.3 million was spent to pass it, and just under $1.5 million spent to turn it away.

So the money speaks in favor of the amendments, so why did the vote go the other way?

"People like Arne Carlson that essentially said that opposition to this amendment is not a partisan issue," said Israelson. "Obviously, former Republican governor of Minnesota."

Even though less money was spent, voter ID was rejected.

"At one time that was polling, I believe, at 65 percent in favor," said Israelson. "So when people first heard about photo ID, they were very much for it. The more they found out about it, you saw support for it plummet to the point where it got voted down."

The marriage amendment met a similar fate.

"Again, it didn't come down to money, I think it just simply boiled down to the point that a lot of people thought that it was intrusion," said Israelson.

The Super PACs have the spending power, but the influence was lacking. Is that a trend?

"Where I think they actually have a bigger impact is on midterm elections. People aren't paying quite as close of attention," said Israelson.

With the 2012 election now in the rearview mirror, both sides go back to the drawing board to see if the money spent was worth the outcome.

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