Poll: Likely non-voters more likely to not vote for...
August 15th, 2012
02:19 PM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Likely non-voters more likely to not vote for...

(CNN) – Polls assessing the state of the presidential race typically survey people likely to vote in November's general election. But what about the millions of Americans who could cast ballots, but won't?

A USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Wednesday found that of the roughly 40% of eligible Americans who aren't likely to vote in November, 2-in-1 would support President Barack Obama. Voters who are registered, but not likely to vote, back Obama over his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, 43%-20%. Another 18% said they'd support a third party candidate, and 15% weren't sure who they would vote for.

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Among eligible voters who weren't registered, the numbers were similar. Forty-three percent backed Obama, while 14% supported Romney and 23% said they'd go for a third party.

In 2008, 64% of voting-age citizens – 131 million in total – cast ballots in the presidential election, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That was not statistically different than the number who voted in 2004, though it was higher than the number who voted in presidential elections in 2000 and 1996.

The USA Today/Suffolk poll of unlikely 2012 voters indicated that only 32% did not vote in 2008. Forty-four percent cast ballots for Obama, and 20% said they voted for McCain.

Why aren't people voting? Fifty-nine percent find that 'nothing ever gets done; it's a bunch of empty promises.' Fifty-four percent find politics corrupt, and 42% do not know the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Thirty-seven percent believe that politics do not make a difference in their lives.

In Wednesday's poll, 55% of the non-likely voters said they had a favorable opinion of Obama, compared to 25% who had a favorable opinion of Romney. Many more, however, remained undecided on Romney. Twenty-two percent were undecided on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, compared to only 7% who were undecided on Obama.

Of the Americans polled who were eligible to vote but were not registered, 26% said they were too busy to get themselves on the voter rolls. Twelve percent said their vote wouldn't count anyway, and 10% said they just didn't want to get registered.

Americans registered to vote but unlikely to actually cast ballots had similar rationale for not participating in this year's election. Twelve percent said their vote wouldn't count, and 13% said it was their right to choose not to vote. Fourteen percent, however, said they may wind up voting, or that they were thinking about voting, in November.

However, just because eligible voters are choosing not to cast a ballot does not mean that they do not second guess their decision. Fifty percent of the unlikely voters believe it will bother them that they are allowing others to elect their president. Forty-one percent said it wouldn't bother them, since they felt their vote doesn't make a difference.

The USA Today/Suffolk University poll surveyed 800 adults by telephone between July 30-August 8. The sampling error was plus or minus 3.47 percentage points.

CNN's Kevin Liptak and Dashia Starr contributed to this report.

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.


Filed under: 2012 • Polls
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. myviewis

    JW

    Yeah keep those americans working till they are 70. constuction workers, coal miners, drillers, labors, trashmen, truck drivers, ect. and other people whn do the work of running the USA. maybe we'll get lucky and they will die on the job before 70. that means no need to pay them Soc. Sec. or medicare. Huh talk about chains and form of slavery for some Americans
    ---------------------

    Obama is changing the retirement age??????

    August 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    "Yeah keep those americans working till they are 70. constuction workers, coal miners, drillers, labors, trashmen, truck drivers, ect. and other people whn do the work of running the USA. maybe we'll get lucky and they will die on the job before 70. that means no need to pay them Soc. Sec. or medicare. Huh talk about chains and form of slavery for some Americans."
    -------–
    In 1933, when Social Security was enacted, the retirement age was set at 65. Since then, life expectancy has increased by an average of 15 years. How else do the numbers, from an actuarial standpoint, keep the program solvent without an increase in eligibility age?

    August 15, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. truth hurts

    myviewis
    But at the end of the day it is the Electral College that elect the President and Vice President. I saw an interview a few weeks ago of a lady who is an Elector and the way she spoke she showed favoritism with President Obama so I don't know that this process is fair, what if they are promised favors, cash?????
    ==========================================================================================
    or more likely, threatened by leftist thugs.

    August 15, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Sandy

    myviewis

    But at the end of the day it is the Electral College that elect the President and Vice President. I saw an interview a few weeks ago of a lady who is an Elector and the way she spoke she showed favoritism with President Obama so I don't know that this process is fair, what if they are promised favors, cash?????
    _________________

    Maybe she spoke favorably about the President because he is favorable overall. NO ONE LIKES MITT!

    August 15, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "42% do not know the difference between Democrats and Republicans. "

    Oh look. Good news CNN and MSM!!! Your false equivalencies are working!!!

    August 15, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. The REAL TRUTH...

    @Fair is Fair – How else do the numbers, from an actuarial standpoint, keep the program solvent without an increase in eligibility age?
    ---------------------------
    To be Fair, SS would be pefectly solvent at the current age eligibility if the GOBP returned the $4.3 TRILLION in "surplus" it trimmed from it...

    August 15, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. The REAL TRUTH...

    @truth hurts, myviewis – so I don't know that this process is fair, what if they are promised favors, cash?????
    ==========================================================================================
    or more likely, threatened by leftist thugs.
    ------------------------
    Better than the GOP approach which is to Grover their delegates and force them to sign a pledge to support Mitt the Twit, or force them out. That also includes the alternates. There is no legal requirement that an elector or delegate vote as intended. They can make up their own mind – unless they are right wing.

    August 15, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. Jay

    @truth hurts.. in 48 states electors are required to vote for the candidate that wins the popular vote in their state... take a civics class please and comment on some other corrupt aspects of politics...

    August 15, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. Me IN HOUSTON

    I WANT THOSE NON VOTERS TO VOTE!
    I WANT THAT 40%
    We need to turn those unlikely voters into VOTERS!
    We need to win
    WE NEED TO WIN BIG!
    ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES

    August 15, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. NonPartisan American First

    @Myviewis: My friends think you are paid to post all day. We have a book club that we sometimes get bored with. When we get bored we try and guess how many times you post. We also try and guess how many people you annoy everyday. It is my turn today to keep score and yes it is a punishment because the book is much better than wondering why you don't work.

    August 15, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "To be Fair, SS would be pefectly solvent at the current age eligibility if the GOBP returned the $4.3 TRILLION in "surplus" it trimmed from it..."

    Yes, but then we'd have to take it from the people who ended up with it, and they're paying the GOP to cut their taxes even further at the expense of the middle-class...sooooo...yeah, the money's gone and the GOP/Teatrolls have finally found the onnly strategy that will get them what they want: break the federal gov't completely, drive up debt and deficits and then use it all as an excuse to kill the societal safety net.

    August 15, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. myviewis

    Sandy

    myviewis

    But at the end of the day it is the Electral College that elect the President and Vice President. I saw an interview a few weeks ago of a lady who is an Elector and the way she spoke she showed favoritism with President Obama so I don't know that this process is fair, what if they are promised favors, cash?????
    _________________

    Maybe she spoke favorably about the President because he is favorable overall. NO ONE LIKES MITT!
    -------------------------

    She spoke favorably of President Obama because she remembered her ancestor having been a slave and about the difficulties of Africa and the blacks expressing themselves via music in slave days. She was very interesting and up in age.

    August 15, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  13. myviewis

    Jay

    @truth hurts.. in 48 states electors are required to vote for the candidate that wins the popular vote in their state... take a civics class please and comment on some other corrupt aspects of politics...
    -----------------------

    According to the civics research I just did it states that the Electors are free to vote for anyone they feel would make the better President and Vice President. I didn't see that they are restricted by law to vote for the one that wins the favorite vote.

    August 15, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. demwit

    I will not vote for Obama this year.
    He fooled me with his Hope and Change in the 2008 primaries and 2008 election.
    But not a third time..

    Fool me once shame on you.
    Fool me twice shame on me.
    Fooling me tthrice makes me a foolish mice.

    August 15, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    "To be Fair, SS would be pefectly solvent at the current age eligibility if the GOBP returned the $4.3 TRILLION in "surplus" it trimmed from it.."
    ------
    You mean BOTH parties, right??

    August 15, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. packerfans

    Come on Vote for try Mitt and Paul for 2012, if you dont happy 2016 Mitt/Paul for second terms then vote others? Why you vote for Obama get worst for second terms and too risk?? Where your faith to Vote New President Mitt chance to save America?? Obama already mess up and kill america so far!! Obama wanted King and Babylon America (same Marraige} above the Law , 16 trillions debts going growing to 20 trillions or more?? He does not try save America?? He stole senior citzen retired frezze from three years from social security and almost threat cutting off SS last aug 3 2010. He might touch retirment SS trillions dollar out money which it was illegal.?? he does not urgent prevent leak oil at gulf mexico ande kills fish etc right way?? He does not have degree buiness?? why you should vote for Obama failure?? Why not Vote Mitt his chance for you and America for 2012 then dont vote 2016 if Mitt failure?? Mitt does have buiness degree and can save America . wish you luck vote who???

    August 15, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Me in the middle of nowhere

    The problem here from my perspective is the system is totally broken. Do the US need a third party? perhaps, right now Congress gets a big fat 0%. especially with this, not going to get anything done, and trying to make this president a "one term" president.

    August 15, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair asked:

    In 1933, when Social Security was enacted, the retirement age was set at 65. Since then, life expectancy has increased by an average of 15 years. How else do the numbers, from an actuarial standpoint, keep the program solvent without an increase in eligibility age?
    -------------------------
    But the private health insurers still want to drop people at age 65. Now what? BTW, life expectancy has increased but not by 15 years, maybe close to 10 perhaps. Back in 1933, not many folks lived past 70-72.

    August 15, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Kina

    I like how the left talk about fox news toxic discussion,when msbc and huffpost does the same to slam the right with usual hating and spoutrage that they accuse the right of doing to all protect obama. Because of course he can never do no wrong and everything never his fault.

    August 15, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. geo

    Want to get more people to vote. Award those who vote a $1,000 tax deduction and then watch how many eligible voters vote and how many unregistered voters register and the vote!

    August 15, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. FLIndependent

    That's the problem with Americans, our forefathers and our sons/daughters fought for our freedoms, of which voting is one, and they simply take it for granted. If you don't vote then don't complain about the outcome. If more people would pay attention to what's going on in the world instead of living in their little bubbles then perhaps they would take voting seriously, but our news propaganda doesn't help either. Please get out and vote!

    August 15, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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