Illustration for article titled Some Americans Think A Super PAC Is A Video Game. Most Dont Know What One Is.

Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and even Super Pac-Man... all video games. But not Super PAC—despite its similar name, a Super PAC is in no way related to Pac-Man. It's a term for a controversial type of political action group that's able to accept an unlimited amount of campaign donations and in so doing get around some campaign finance laws.


A Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll reports that when given four choices as to what a Super PAC was, only four in ten of those polled answered correctly.

Some wrongly thought it was a Congressional committee, others a Governmental clean-up project. And one percent thought that a Super PAC was in fact Super PAC, a "popular video game on smartphones." At least it was the lowest percentage!


The article suggests that it will be very difficult to get the public to care about Super PACs given that the term itself is jargony and unfamiliar to a lot of people.

What all the numbers above prove is that, for all the hue and cry - particularly among Democrats - about how a small group of very wealthy donors are exerting undue influence on the 2012 election via Republican super PACs, that argument shows basically no political traction among the broader electorate.

Real-world examples affirm this fact. In 2010, Democrats from the Obama White House on down sought to make the heavy spending by American Crossroads, the biggest and best-funded conservative super PAC, a major issue in the midterms. It didn't work - at all.


If a game designer (Molleindustria perhaps?) could come up with a newsgame about campaign finance, it could likely help people understand what everyone's talking about. The closest I could come up with was this classroom game about campaign finance, though I'm about to play The Political Machine 2012, so we'll see how that game does with PACs and Super PACs.

In the meantime, there's always Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. It's not topical and has nothing to do with Super PACs, but it is a lot of fun.


Why attacking super PACs won't work [Washington Post via Kyle Orland]

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