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. bob

    why is there no comment about results showing romeny better candidate for fixing the economy?

    July 24, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  2. v_mag

    I'm frustrated by the total lack of comment by CNN or any other "news" source about the vast disenfranchisement of American voters caused by the antiquated electoral college system. We have seen in recent elections that a candidate can win the popular vote and lose the election. This most recently led to eight years of the Bush regime, 2 unfunded and unnecessary wars, war crimes by our highest officials, countless deaths, the Great Recession, 911, and all the other horrors of the Repugnants.

    Had it not been for the electoral college thwarting the will of the American electorate, none of that might have happened, yet here we go into another presidential election with the knowledge that the American voter will not have the ultimate say in who is president and vice president of the world's most powerful country.

    Where is the outrage? Where is there even a mention of this miscarriage of justice?

    July 24, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  3. winston

    BOzo the clown v/s Mr Personality. Yea this is an exciting race, unfortunately we need a change to get the economy rolling again.

    July 24, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  4. Schlitzkrieg

    Maybe people are turned off because we are tired of the same nonesense. Every four years two presidential candidates tell us how bad the other one is. And each claim to offer us a better future. But for the vast majoroty of us, nothing changes no matter who wins. We should start mocking these liars and vote for ANY third party candidate. Vote anyone but a Republi-crat!

    July 24, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  5. Andrew

    To solve this political stalemate is to ban all political parties. If you want to be in congress you run on your own ideas, not an agenda mandated or written up by some central group of fools. Also you can only use public funds and corporations can't give to any political party since most of them receive some form of government subsidies and tax cuts. . Also you can only use public funds from the state which your running in. Create a two term limit..but they must be consecutive .. if voted out after the first term your done.. can't run again for any public office or the presidency. I believe if you run of office and don't win.. basically means the people don't want you in any position of power. Simple solution.

    July 24, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. Travis

    Finally I knew I couldn’t be the only one! Both parties need to stop the insanity. They need to start talking about the issues and stop saying that guy’s bad vote for me.

    July 24, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  7. UH2L

    It's the same old thing every two years and all it does is sway undecided voters who can't think for themselves. The ads just cancel each other out anyway. Just think of how all this ad spending could be put to good use to help the poor and the hungry.

    July 24, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  8. American People

    The American People want to see Romney's tax returns for the last 20 years.

    July 24, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  9. Jbj

    I agree stop telling us your the best man fir the job, tell us what your going to do and how your getting it done. Its like watching two little kids name call each other across the street.

    July 24, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  10. Wake up people

    And still no taxes huh Robmey??

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 24, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  11. Guest

    lol at most being frustrated at what which side of the coin to vote for...

    July 24, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  12. Mike

    Nothing but negativity and name calling. One party started this lousy economiy and the other hasn't been able to make it better. The main problem is that neither side will work with one another. Our history shows that this country has functioned best when both sides are involved. When either side has complete control, that's when the problems arise. As long as both sides are unwilling to work together, the counrty will continue to flounder.

    July 24, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  13. One time Rpublican

    Welcome to new world of politics. Neither side willing to compromise, neither side willing to work with the other, although admittedly, the Democrats have given in more than their partners, using the term loosely, to the right. It is a very sad state of affairs, and one I am afraid will not end anytime soon, so get ready for the long haul, as our elected officials fight it out for a single party rule, and while the country, say for a few, continue to suffer.

    July 24, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  14. Af

    Everybody knows that Romney is not siding with middle class paople. that is why he has 43000 donors who gave him $100million. 43 000 donors? let do the math: $100.000.000/ 43000 =$2325.58 the average. How many middle class people can afford to pay $2325.58 for candidate?
    le's see for Obama. Obama recived $71.000.000 from 500.000 donors . the math: $100.000.000/500.000 = $142 in average per donor. Most middleclass people can afford $142 but $2325 like romney's donors

    July 24, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  15. Name

    And why are ambulances so damn loud?!

    July 24, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  16. pablo

    I have to agree with some aspects of this poll. People on both sides are becoming disgusted with the way campaigns are being waged and all of the attack ads on both sides. Instead of the relentless attacking of each other, they should be telling the American people how they plan to attack the problems we are all facing and offering solutions instead of vitriol. Neither the President nor Romney can run away from their respective records or blame others anymore. Move on and bring us some real solutions insted of rhetoric.

    July 24, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  17. Here We go

    Its not about way can be done for the country...its what family is going to be the next mega-millionaires.

    July 24, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. Rick

    I am disgusted with the way these two political children are fighting with each other. They both sound like a couple of third graders. Let's get to the real issues that affect every unemployed American. We need to put America back on the map. I have friends overseas and they say that America is looking pretty sad. Politics and corruption have taken over our way of life. If we don't stop it pretty soon, we will go the way of the Romans.

    July 24, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  19. Wake up people

    I'd just like to remind everyone of who started the attack ads. These ads started during the primary and were directed at Gingrich, Santorum and President Obama. But that was all good, but the minute the President fights back now America is frustrated. I just want to know why all the frustration now?? I'll just bet they are frustrated. Frustrated that their great white hope is turning out to be nothing but a big, white steaming pile of dog poo with no solutions. Following the POTUS like a lost puppy. He doesn't even know how to campaign. His only consistency is the fact that he is a liar and a flip flopper. His masters demanded President Obama's birth certificate, yet he won't even provide his taxes like every Presidential candidate in recent years has done. And people still want this bare faced lying, vulture capitalist in the White House.

    Wake up America!

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 24, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  20. Mgc

    YOu think this is bad? wait until all th super pacs spend the billions they have raised, especially Karl Roves group. We are in for SATURATION! Get ready!

    July 24, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  21. Breed11

    This election sucks, I don't even know what any of the candidates stand for, all I here is Bain capital, Romney tax returns and something about dog eating. The American electoral process is a joke, what happened to serious debate.

    July 24, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  22. Adam L

    You're country is obsessed with it! more than a year ago I started watching the Primaries, and it's all still going on now?!?! In Canada we care about elections about 2 or 3 months before the elections, because during the year there are far more pressing topics then just having people fight for power. CNN, Why do you cover this stuff 24/7? it's the cause of your administration's failure ( I support Obama) But your Congress/ and polarized politics are destroying your democracy. There is too much power and money. And Canadians think Republicans are wackos

    July 24, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  23. Jen in Texas

    Just 78%? This must mean that 22% of Americans aren't paying attention.

    July 24, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  24. Michael

    I agree that it seems more negative than in the past but I think that's because the dem's have finally caught on that the horrendous attacks from the right in the past did damage and have learned a lesson.

    I think they have taken a page from the republican playbook, mostly authored by rove & assoc, and are using it to their advantage. I applaud them for doing this because it shows the party is not going to lay down and take it.

    Before anyone berates me for saying this, I'm just commenting on what is obvious to me. I would like to point out the swift boat attacks on Kerry during the 04 election cycle.

    Two wrongs don't make a right. With that said though, I believe that in the long run it will even out the playing field and in that respect it puts them on even footing for the independent vote. Both sides have their base and that small 6% undecided voters may very well be swayed by attack ad's.

    I think both sides have some very good ad's out right now. The POTUS, with the two ad's, the one where Romney is singing and the video is of the empty rooms and the other with the interviews of the people from the companies that Romney and Bain bankrupted. On the other hand, the best one I've seen from the Romney camp is the one where it says Obama has tried and it's okay to make a change.

    I don't consider any of these 3 attack ad's though but very very good ad's showing the difference between the two camps

    July 24, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  25. bb

    This idiot was to close gitmo, ooops, cut spending, ooops, transparent gov, oooops lower unemp,ooops the economy sucks and this jerk goes on oprah and letterman we have flushed better leadership down the toilet than this jerk has been. Holder, Rat Axelturd if you cant see through these jerks you need to get your head examined. It has been nothing but 1 cover up for being inept after another. He has done everything in his power to hurt this ONCE great country. Vote him and his treasonist out so we can send them to trial for treason. What type of president calls the police stupid??? and take mr stupid (biden) with ya

    July 24, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
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