Poll: GOP voters in the dark?
January 13th, 2012
09:05 AM ET
6 years ago

Poll: GOP voters in the dark?

(CNN) – While the 2012 Republican presidential election is at the center of national media coverage, it appears voters are significantly in the dark when it comes to the GOP race.

According to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, fewer than half of registered voters identified South Carolina as the next primary state on the road to the White House, with slightly more Republicans, at 50%, than Democrats, at 43%, offering the correct answer.

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Sixty-nine percent of voters knew Newt Gingrich served as House speaker, but only about half could say in which state Mitt Romney served as governor. Fifty-three percent of registered voters, 59% of Republicans and 50% of Democrats correctly named Massachusetts.

Despite Rep. Ron Paul's strong showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, only 44% of voters knew the Texas congressman as the White House hopeful who opposes U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, a cornerstone of his candidacy.

Age, gender and education gaps were also evident in the poll, which indicated Republican and Republican-leaning voters 65 years of age or older were more likely to answer the questions correctly. Twenty-six percent of GOP voters under 40 correctly answered at least three of the four questions, as opposed to 62% of those 65 years or older.

Republican women were less likely to answer the questions correctly, as were non-college graduates. And voters who aligned themselves with the tea party had far more knowledge about the 2012 race than those who said they disagreed or had no opinion of the grassroots movement.

The Pew poll surveyed 1,165 registered voters and 549 Republican and Republican-leaning voters between Jan. 4 and Jan. 8 with a sampling error of 3.5 for registered voters and 5.5 percentage points for GOP voters.

Also see:

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South Carolina GOP Chairman defends free market amid Romney attacks

Filed under: 2012 • Polls • Republicans
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    ""with slightly more Republicans, at 50%, than Democrats, at 43%, offering the correct answer."
    And yet the headline refers to GOP voters being in the dark?"

    Duh. It's GOP voters who actually SHOULD know about THEIR primaries. Only political junkies like us would give enough of a crap about the other team's primary to pay attention to its details. One would hope that people might take an interest in understanding the other team, if for no other reason but to "know thy enemy" if that's their mindset, but that's not how people's brains are wired. Waaaaaah more. Crying "bias" at every opportunity misses the forest for the trees.

    January 13, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Dr. Knowit all

    Just another in a long line of useless polls.
    This is like saying that you need to know the birth date of every one of your extended family memebers. It is not important. There is no reason to care in the way the primaries are laid out. A voter has no control over what happens in any other state other than their own. You keep your eyes and ears open to what the candidates say and do and when your turn comes around, you vote your conscience.

    January 13, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    We need to educate our citizens. This is part of the problem is that many people don't care and don't vote. We need to have a massive non-partisan effort to get people knowledgable about their government and to vote. Remember, if you don't vote, you can't complain.

    January 13, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Most American voters are in the dark. Many don't even bother to register to vote and less than 50% of registered voters do not cast a ballot on election day. The winning candidate is victorious with around 25% of the electorate, a disgrace. No wonder American voters are susceptible to lies, propoganda, misinformation, and 10 second TV/raido sound bites.

    January 13, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. unsub

    "if we dont run chris christie romney will become the nominee and we will lose"-mr. ann coulter

    January 13, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    The problem is, people hate the political process........it is neither democratic, nor fair, nor representative of the wishes of the people. That applies to all political parties, equally.

    The hatred of the process, the lack of any real democracy, and the lack of any real personal input, makes most people shy totally away from politics........allowing fakes, and charlatans to run for office, successfully, and making government worse in the end.........because the voters know nothing about the people they vote for. They expect someone else to tell them who to vote for, whether a big labor union, or a friend, or the political party leadership.

    Truthfully........so few people know anything about what they do, when it comes to voting, that one has to question whether it does make any sense for everyone to vote.

    January 13, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Drake Cage

    @TJ – You do realize that the poll questions centered on the republican primaries. Where you expecting Democrats would know better than republicans. I bet if the questions were on a Democrat primary, the results will be reversed.

    January 13, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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