Poll: Most Americans can't name GOP candidates
October 7th, 2011
11:50 AM ET
3 years ago

Poll: Most Americans can't name GOP candidates

(CNN) - Political junkies keeping track of the GOP presidential horserace probably know the candidates by first name only: Mitt, Rick, Michele and so on.

But a new Pew Research Center survey finds only small percentages of Americans can name any of the 2012 Republican candidates. When asked to name a person running for the nomination, only 28% identified Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 27% named former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and 15% identified Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.

All of the other candidates got results in the single digits. Forty-seven percent of Americans couldn't name any candidate for the 2012 GOP nomination.

Those numbers are far lower than when the name question was asked in October 2007. At that time, 45% of respondents named former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a candidate, while 30% identified Romney and 27% named then Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson. In that survey, 41% of respondents couldn't name a candidate.

Among Republicans voters, name recognition is slightly higher. Sixty-six percent of Republican and Republican leaning voters could name a candidate. Perry and Romney had the highest name recognition, each with 36% of respondents identifying them as candidates.

The poll was taken by telephone from Sept. 29-Oct. 2, and 1000 adults were surveyed. The sampling error was plus or minus four percentage points.


Filed under: 2012 • Polls
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. grrace

    Good. It'll make it easier to throw these tax dodging bums out of office.

    October 7, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Victoria

    wow I hope folks start watching the debates so can they can see what a silly crop of candidates this is. For those of you who have missed them, let me fill you in, cheering at executions, cheering at letting a 30 year old uninsured man die and booing in the face of one of our soldiers in iraq beacuse he was gay. What??? Not one candidate as a possible commander in chief had the good sense to say anything that this behavior was wrong. Not the mentality of anyone I want in office thats for sure.

    October 7, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    That's because most Americans think politics is a dirty business and they avoid it like the plague.

    They only vote, when they feel angry, or very concerned about the direction of the country. (They hate to wait in line........which is why absentee voting is now more popular.)

    Most Americans abdicate their responsibility, to vote for candidates they believe in, to guide our country. It is that simple.

    October 7, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. durundal

    Rather than crow that it is proof positive that the republican candidates are an anti-intellectual bunch of snake oil salesmen, I think it is more a sign of the stupidity of Americans. But then again, candidates getting voted in or out based on how folksy, attractive, or other personal appeals is nothing new for us. Im really starting to lean towards the conclusion that most Americans simply lack the substance to even comprehend real issues.

    October 7, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. glm

    I don't watch debates because I don't have cable tv or basic channels. Everything I know about the candidates comes from you guys and news streams on my BlackBerry.

    October 7, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. MTATL67

    That is laughable and scary at the same time. I agree with Victoria. That was one of the most shameful displays of cowardice I have ever seen. Being former military I can say that I would not any of those cowards to be my Commander in Chief.

    October 7, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Half or more of the people in this country are totally clueless about politics and most don't vote, which is a good thing given their ignorance of the issues. Then you have the clueless anarchists and leftists that only know the lies they stupidly believe without thinking for themselves.

    October 7, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    So, no name recognition. That means that when the polls say that one of the candidates is leading President in a head to head matchup, most of the people who were polled were just talking out of the sides of their mouth.

    October 7, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. lou

    Republicans don't really care who is running or what they stand for. They just go with the herd.

    October 7, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. glm

    I was smart enough to assess candidate Obama as a smooth talking guy who doesn't say anything, who never voted for anything, and didn't stand up for anything.

    October 7, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. logic in LA

    This only shows that all this political writings go no where. The media crams a presidential election down our throats for 3 years and expect people to pay attention. Maybe it's time to take a poll about how many people give a crap about all your polls and reporting!

    October 7, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Pam

    No one can remember their names because they are so un-memorable!

    October 7, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. Victoria

    @Democrat class warfare. You make the assumtion that liberals cant think for themselves which is not true. We are a free thinking caring people. Did you know the 10 poorest least educated states in our country are under republican control? Hmm.. what does that tell us? Not something I would like to see spread nationwide. You are the one who cannot think for yourself. If you did, you would be able to see you are being duped.

    October 7, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. steve a, new braunfels, tex

    It doesn't matter if you can name them or not, they are all the same. Wall street elects the republican candidate anyway, what we are going through now is just part of the GOP "show".

    October 7, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. John

    It because the American People are feed up with the Republican only protecting the Rich and big Business. Just like Mr Cain say If you are a Republican and you are Poor It your own fault. The Republican doesn't care anything about the working Class people In America. Just think how much these BUSH tax cuts are costing the American people. You people should really take a good look all around be for you start voting for any Republican for anything. After all they was the one who cause the mess America In now.

    October 7, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. joy

    Well the GOP candidates offer nothing to write home about but the same policies that crashed our economy in '08 , so WHY should anybody remember them anyway.

    October 7, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. CoJo

    So far
    I have heard republicans want to cut taxes, but increase military spending.
    I have heard people want the military out of Afgan and Iraq... ok at least acknowledge who put us in Iraq which has not even been paid for yet.
    I have heard don't tax the rich more, ok, where is the money to support the military going to come from? Oh social services.
    I have heard the republicans and tea people don't want Obamacare. Ok do they have a replacement? Or do we go back to where everyone who has little or no insurance still have access to hospitals, but that cost is passed on to the rest of the public as increased health costs? 15 million people on free health care the old way... why would I need to buy health care insurance?

    October 7, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. Brian

    Most can't name the candidates... so we can pretty much throw out those polls where "Generic Republican" is beating Obama.

    October 7, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    That would certainly explain why the polls put Mittens ahead of President Obama.

    October 7, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. Brian

    And we wonder why this Country is in trouble and why both parties are clueless, most of these people probably enter the voting booth not knowing the candidates or the issues.

    October 7, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |