January 4th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
7 years ago

Poll: Americans mixed on early primary schedule

(CNN) - The candidates, the press corps, the national parties may all be griping about 2008's incredibly early and compressed primary calendar - but it seems the rest of the country may not share those complaints, according to a new survey.

A Gallup poll released Friday found that 49 percent of the country thinks it's a good thing that the caucuses and primaries begin in January. Another 27 percent say it's neither good nor bad. Just 22 percent are troubled by the unprecedented early start to the presidential selection process.

The fact that the contest may be a relatively short sprint didn't seem to trouble a majority of those surveyed, either: 45 percent said it was a good thing that both parties' nominees would likely be known by early February, and 18 percent more said it would be neither good nor bad. Thirty-six percent said they'd like to see the process last longer.

Americans are less enthusiastic about the king-maker role now filled by Iowa and New Hampshire. While 26 percent thought it was a good thing that those two states always weighed in first, 28 percent thought it was a bad thing. Forty-four percent were ambivalent about the current arrangement.

But those surveyed appeared overwhelmingly unhappy about the fact that most of them may not get the chance to cast a meaningful presidential primary vote: 71 percent said that it was a bad thing that the nominees are usually determined before many states hold their primaries or caucuses. Just 11 percent said it was a good thing, and 17 percent said it was neither good nor bad.

The survey of 1,008 Americans was conducted December 10-13, 2007, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand


Filed under: Iowa • New Hampshire
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Ken-Caldwell - NJ

    Well, I don't know if speak on behalf of other Garden State Voters, but us here in NJ never even get a chance to have a part in the primary decision. Why is this? I'll never know.

    I find it troubling that about 45% of the country gets to decided our candidate before it even gets to us, rendering our primary elections a moot point. How is that democracy.

    Do em' all in ONE day!

    January 5, 2008 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  2. Ken-Caldwell - NJ

    Sorry for the bad grammar in my previous post! Just woke up! Go Dems!

    January 5, 2008 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  3. VMP

    Change? Yeah, Probably from bad to worse. I do not see any candidate ready for the most powerful position in the world. Just imagine any one of them with their "finger on the trigger". And...Keep politics out of religion.

    January 5, 2008 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  4. Ryan

    The truly ridiculous thing in American politics is that so few people vote.
    It should be absolutely mandatory, that all people vote! However, the Republicans are not in favor of this, because they would hardly ever be elected, if all people voted. We are a Democrat nation. And the vast majority of people under 50 are at the very least, somewhat liberal. The Religious right all show up at the polls, about 95% of them, so we think that they have greater numbers then they do. But most people in this country are NOT religious, certainly not fanatical about it anyway, and definitely not bible beaters!

    ALL PEOPLE NEED TO VOTE! There should be a fine for people who do not show up! And we should be allowed time off from work to cast those votes. AND all votes should be counted!!! IT IS FAR TOO IMPORTANT, We need to STOP making these blue haired blunders!

    January 5, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  5. Ryan

    Example, Iowa has 2,054,843 total registered voters, and less than 100,000 of those people voted in the caucus. that's less than .05 percent, not even 1% or the people voted, so how exactly do we seem to have such a clear picture of what the people think, if less than half or 1% of them even vote?

    January 5, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  6. Canadian

    My good neighbours to the South have a plate full of problems that need good old fashioned sacrifice. Which of the contenders is really going to tackle real issues and balance that against self-interest groups. Which man or woman do you trust to be honest with you? That seems to me the only real ?. I would roll the dice with Mr. Edwards. But I still would love to see Ralph Nader in there. He is one of the most dedicated Americans with no political agenda to serve and he has already served his country well and that was as a private citzen. Good luck neighbour.

    January 5, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. Spamman

    so it looks like the american ppl are being fooled again the only source they have is media such a shame that they only go for ppl with celebrity status who is supporting them ..and here i thought you guys could think for your self! while rudy is away from iowa ready to hijack this election like a terrorist the rest of the pack is just switching back n forth. im just wondering when ppl are going to listen to the message and not the polls and analysis from media outlets..i geuss we all need our 15 min of fame! im canadian and you might say well you have no bussiness on this blog but i really do your foriegn policy and hijacking personal libertys affects my country among other things ..just what i like to hear..NOT!! so im hoping you all realize its not about the party dem, rep, ind...its about the message and what a candidate has to offer yourself or your family but i geuss your attention span left a while ago after reading first sentence...RON PAUL and OBAMA after listning to their message is who i would vote for ...greetings from canada!!! i love you krazy guys!

    January 5, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  8. Anita

    I agree that maybe we should have all the primaries on one day. Give the the ones wanting to run for office three months to show the American people who they are, what they stand for, and how they stand on policies, war, the budget, taxes, etc. Then let them have free two hours of TV time to tell about their polices, taxes, the budget, war, international relations, borders, and their values as an American Citzen. Let us see them as the Average American sees them. Do the people care how they smile, how expensive their clothes are, how many kids they have, or how many homes they have? The Americans I know want to see their direction for America and how those will stand up for the average American. We forget that the average American has made lots of sacrifices for this country. Those that are leading the country need to know that while they are making sacrifices in many ways, the average and below average Americans are making sacrifices and some of them are because the people in Washington are making decisions that discriminate against some. How about Social Security? How about teachers and that they aren't able to draw both Social Security and their retirement. They can be married for 40 years and their husband can draw his social security and his retirement, but not teachers. Why do we have so many seniors still working into what should be their golden years? What about medicare? What about changing laws on domestic violence? What about child support? What about the children of domestic violence? What do they know about that? What about higher education for those of domestic violence and their children? We talk about how foreign countries treat their children and the women....then lets talk about America and how the smallest of society is treated. Let's hear talk from our people in Washington about protecting those that aren't able to protect themselves. Not everyone has the opportunity to go to Harvard, Columbia, or SMU, but that doesn't mean that they can't succeed. We should be able to help those down below to look up and those at the top and in charge to look down. Look down at the Americans that need hope, they need answers, they need to see what the furure is going to look like. They need to have a vision. They need to hear from these canidates what plans of actions do they really have. They need to get out of their Ivory Towers and get on the road and roll up their sleeves, and meet the people that really make up this country of America. I am proud to be an American and I feel it in my heart and soul. Let us really hear from the ones wanting their offices where their heart and soul is and not so much about how much they have to spend to get elected. Let us hear the MEAT of their reason for wanting to be an American. Let us see them salute the American flag with tears in their eyes that know the sacrifices of all the Americans. Let's us hear what they are going to do to help this country to become the best country in the world. It is better than most countries, but if we leave the seniors, the babies, the infirmed, the beaten, and those without a voice behind then are all Americans living the best? Let's dream big for all Americans? Let's really be a country that treats all with equal respect and not just a few chosen. Let's hear from the people that are wanting the highest position in American so the American people will really know who they are and what their plan is for America. Let us hear it from their heart and not just from their lips. Let us see it. Treat us with respect no matter what our social status is. Let them be a true American. We want to hear more than...When I am president...let'ls hear about them as they are now.

    January 5, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. andy

    As I have placed in another blog its like this if Hillary clinton dosen't gain the nomination and if John Mccain continues to be in the race for president then the hispanic vote will probably go republican again and support him because it seems like these 2 are the only ones who will speak out for them and if you watch even today the rallies that Obama and Edwards have there are maybe 1 or 2 hispanics and maybe 1 or 2 asians ! again I ask you why is that ?

    January 5, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. Ann Aloha, PA

    I think it would be very interesting to see the breakdown of total votes counted before the caucus members shifted to their sencond choice candidates. To me this shows the true commitment of caucus members to their original choice of candidate.
    I don't think this will be revealed because the media is being biased and that it the report will show or paint a different picture of the candidates.

    January 5, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. rk

    Andy ,
    I concur. I believe if Hillary Clinton does not get the democratic nomination the Clinton voters will vote republican. It is about experience and change. Why not vote for someone with both qualities.

    January 7, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Laura in NC

    If Hillary doesn't get the nomination, then I'm voting Republican... It's frustrating that a few states basically determine the outcome of a party candidate. I'm disillusioned by the media hype having such a large impact on the candidates. They are twisting words and drowning out the candidates!

    January 8, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Henry Sands

    That tearful scene with Clinton at the diner was completely a staged, rehearsed event. There were no real tears.

    January 9, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Gator73

    Two states, each more than 95% white . . . this is where MILLIONS of dollars are spent to assess the first pulse of the "United States" as regards "our" probable choice for our next President.

    And this process, the timing of these events, and the states selected to "go first" is clearly controlled by the major parties . . . evidenced by all the coverage of each party imposing severe penalties (forfeiture of delegates at the conventions) on states who may have the audacity to attempt to change this order.

    Riddle me this – why would especially the Democrat Party which views itself as such a "party of ALL the people" protect a system so zealously which holds two states which are so unrepresentative of today's USA diversity?

    I am as white as Iowa or New Hampshire, and as conservative as Ronald Reagan . . . and in some folks' prejudices, I shouldn't give a whit about this, but I do. The primary system should be modified to hold primaries first in Michigan, Florida, New York, Texas and California to achieve a much better initial assessment of not only the cultural, geographic and ethnic diversity of the US but also get it from states with substantial electorates & electoral votes . . . and not from two states with very little of either.

    January 9, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
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