Poll: Most Americans 'frustrated' with 2012 race
July 24th, 2012
12:12 AM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Most Americans 'frustrated' with 2012 race

(CNN) - While Election Day is less than four months away, the 2012 presidential campaign has already been on the nation's radar for more than a year, and a new poll shows Americans are not pleased with the course of the race.

Nearly eight in 10 Americans, or 78%, say they are "frustrated" by the ongoing political battle, according to a new Knights of Columbus-Marist survey released Tuesday.

About three-quarters of Americans believe this election year is more intense in its negative campaigning than previous years, with 74% saying the problem is getting worse.

Meanwhile, roughly two-thirds of Americans, or 66%, say candidates have spent more time on the offensive than addressing issues. Nearly the same amount, 64% say negative campaign ads "harm the political process" either "a great deal" or "a significant amount."

Americans saw a short break from the political back-and-forth this weekend, as both campaigns paused in the aftermath of the massacre at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theatre.

However, the sparring got back under way on Monday, as both political teams resumed their daily attack strategies through press releases, campaign appearances and interviews.

Millions have been poured into negative ads this cycle, both from campaigns and outside spending groups. And while Obama frequently blasts Republicans for waging a tsunami of attack ads against him, Romney's team points out that the president’s campaign has outspent Romney in TV advertising since he became the presumptive GOP nominee in April.

At a campaign event in Austin last week, Obama repeated a line he uses frequently, warning the crowd to avoid listening to the "scary voices" in negative ads launched against him.

"I will say that there's going to be about - well, who knows how much money is going to be spent. We've got folks writing $10 million checks, running negative ads with scary voices," he said.

July has seen an onslaught of attack ads on the airwaves, with Obama's campaign hammering Romney over his tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital, as well as his offshore investments.

Meanwhile, Romney's campaign has been hitting back, releasing a stream of ads calling into question Obama's record of job creation, broken campaign promises and negative campaign tactics.

Asked Monday about the tone of the race moving forward after the Colorado shooting, Romney said he expects it to have a level of "seriousness."

"We're starting also with a level of thoughtfulness and seriousness that I think is appropriate in the aftermath of a tragedy of this nature," Romney said Monday in a CNBC interview.

The survey was conducted by telephone with 1,010 adults from July 9 through July 11. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: 2012 • Polls
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. snow

    Durn right we are frustrated, let's get to November and vote obama out and put Governor Romney in the White House.

    July 24, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  2. Howard

    How about "Most Americans are frustrated with Obama !!!

    July 24, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  3. onevoice

    I'm tired of the interviewers of Romney not calling Him on His Lies. I'm also tired of the Political Ads of the Romney Campaign, distortion, re-writing History and OUTRIGHT LIES. Obama/Biden 2012

    July 24, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  4. Marcus Wel

    My frustration with the race, is that there is to little fact and to much fiction!

    July 24, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  5. clarke

    It couldn't get here fast enough. I for one have gone way pass my limit. Most people I speak with have had it. They are tired of the same old thing, over and over. We are drown-ding in politics. Man say they even feel like voting, which I find said. They need to shorten this process. For a year it was all about the GOP and now it is for the President. Overkill. I don't think they enjoy this any more than we do.

    July 24, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  6. Orwell sees it, again & again

    Vote for republican wingnuts, let's get more frustrated. Reality don't matter, just being righteous is all that counts.

    July 24, 2012 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  7. david

    If romney wasnt running 4 president he wouldnt give 2 thoughts about the theatre shootings he would b chilling in his manstion sipping wine smoking a cigar lighting it with a 100 $ bill just smiling

    July 24, 2012 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  8. david

    Just like he probly did after the bain thing happened

    July 24, 2012 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  9. fernace

    It seems to me that the GOTP have been negative since Obama took office! When 1 party refuses to work w/a sitting president & claims their main purpose is to make him a 1 term CIC, how do you respond to that? Many people have urged Obama to fight fire w/fire, to stop being polite & stand up for what he's accomplished despite opposition, but negativity causes its own backlash! Romney, however, is no1 to talk about "negative campaigning"! All his flip-flopping must be affecting his memory, but many of us remember his "attacks" on the opposition (Gingrich, Santorum), before he became the front runner! No matter what, the message from either camp is not confusing: Obama-mainly for every American, Romney-mainly for the rich! The choice is ours!!

    July 24, 2012 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  10. Gurgyl

    This dogfight is quite normal, mitt hid money in cayman island, Swiss, Bermuda is true. Mitt job creation in Massachuttes was 47/50, messed state like hell. Obama12.

    July 24, 2012 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  11. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Romney's team points out that the president’s campaign has outspent Romney in TV advertising since he became the presumptive GOP nominee in April.◄

    Could it be because Romney's PACs are spending maybe 5 times the amount President Obama is??? But Romney, so he says, has nothing to do with those ads!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    July 24, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  12. TomInRochNY

    I think people are mostly frustrated by the fact that we don't have a good choice this time around.

    July 24, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  13. n

    What do you expect the President to do, we all know about the republican dirty tactics. Carpet bomb specialist Karl Rove and swift boating, Big money Romney and his dirty team of attack dogs, of which, he let loose on his republican adversaries. What would you have this president do? As Americans, we witness first hand, the republican leadership from the senate and the house, dirty plan to obstruct, undermine and sabotage the economy and then blame it all on the policies of this president. I looked upon this nation with shame as we stood in silence, allowing it to happen. 2010, we allow the republican party to slime their way back in power to finish bringing this nation to her knees. We as a nation, voted for Barack Obama but failed to let him do his job. He did not fail us, we failed him. It is now time to fight fire with fire. Stand behind our elected president, and demand that Romney, show us his tax returns for 12 years, What has Romney actually done for this great nation, demand that he back up his sound bites, with a actual policy plan. Pull back the republican curtain of deceit. More carpet bombing, force Romney to come from out of the trenches of lies.

    July 24, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    All this money and negative talk doesn't help things. I would like to see a limit of any and all money going into campaigns. This would include super PACs, which are really uncontrolled sections of the campaign. We need people to be more positive and more people with less income be candidates. Money shouldn't equal free speech.

    July 24, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  15. mm

    As if the 2008 election cycle wasn't grating on the nerves...a la Sarah Palin...

    Nah, this one is a walk in the park compared to that.

    July 24, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  16. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    A vote for romney is a vote for BACHMANN and the Gop bafoon party extremest!@!!

    July 24, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  17. The GOP should pack up and leave

    Every campaign during any election year is a turn off. That's nothing new.

    July 24, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  18. sbssue1

    Bring some hope and happiness to the world; quit with the negative dialogue and be leaders. This country does not need to hear all the bad, let's hear some good that you could bring to this country. Sticks and stones.....remember???? Hold your head high and let's have a positive note for a change.

    July 24, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  19. Dean

    The worst president in history has run the most negative campaign in history. Who's suprised?

    July 24, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  20. Todd M

    I agree wholheartedly. I was completely immersed in the 2008 campaign. Maybe it's the state of things today or fatigue or just apathy, but not much to get excited about. Still, I haven't seen any game changers in terms of candidate positions that going to cause me to change my mind yet.

    July 24, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  21. Clairevoyant

    Bottom line – campaign spending has been a waste of money (and a lot of it). If either party announced it will be earmarking after the election any excess funds to projects to help the economy, that would get a voter's attention. But instead, all those funds which are far in excess of what one person needs to run for presidency will continue to be wasted on campaigning that only succeeds in lessening our respect for both candidates. Again our nation's resources are wasted on nonproductive, self serving goals.

    July 24, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  22. The GOP should pack up and leave

    Notice that there's a difference in this election year than in previous ones? It's predictable at the moment. It hasn't reached high levels of viciousness, and it's July! You'd think the lying attacks by the GOP and the more truthful attacks from the Democrats would have started by now.

    We have President Obama running for re-election - an intelligent individual who wants to do the best he can for America while dealing with a bunch of spoiled brats on the GOP side who are still pitching a tantrum because nobody wants them.

    On the other side, you've got Romney. Even as ineligible and unqualified as he is to run for president, he has no true character or ethics. At least McCain had that. So like McCain, his viability comes in the form of the VP choice. The GOP chose Palin the pickled-brained moron, a classless individual who spewed word salad every time she opened her mouth. McCain's credibility flew out the window, and Palin's actions were utterly objectionable (remember the death chants she let occur without stopping them?).

    So even though Romney is objectionable, he's not really even a wrinkle in the fabric of politics. If he gets someone uniquely as unqualified as Palin, then the real entertainment for the American people can start. Seriously, just how many times can the GOP mess up and try to destroy America?

    July 24, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  23. Beezy

    i am frustrated because Gov Romney is trying to run a clean campaign yet obama keeps telling lies or will talk about the promises he kept yet fails to mention how those promises back fired on him. I am not the biggest Romney supporter but he is going to be way better than obama.

    July 24, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  24. ED FL

    American problem ,we really are not happy with the Current President and the the guy running to take his place is absolutely a non-winner.Romney is the least impressive candidate ever .the American people would suffer greatly unless they are wealthy. Romney would be the least capable President to have if an emergency /war situation came up.He and his sons all dodged the military service so the fathers judgement about war would be to see how much MORE money the family can make in that type of situation. No matter who gets electedthe American public is going to take it on the chin unless they are financially endowed. The real meaning of GOD BLESS AMERICA will be our salvation.Romneys religion will be a costly loss for the American Public.

    July 24, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  25. Marty, FL

    It is frustrating to see the double standards applied enabling Romney not to follow his own father's presidential precedence to release his tax returns. Don't trust what Romney is hiding.

    July 24, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
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