Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


After the Citizens United decision in 2010 allowed corporations and unions to spend freely in elections, much media attention was given to the influence of unlimited and undisclosed donations during the 2010 midterm elections. This research attempts to determine the impact of increased outside spending by super PACs and other groups post-Citizens United by comparing United States House races in 2006 and 2010. The analysis controls for other factors that influence election outcomes in order to determine the influence of outside spending, confirming that outside money did have a small measurable effect in both elections when spent to support challengers. This study reveals the difficulties of compiling precise data on outside spending in elections, especially for spending that is not express advocacy. Additionally, the findings demonstrate that challengers see a greater measurable effect of outside expenditures, a finding consistent with previous research.