Poll: Many voters unsatisfied with candidates
September 24th, 2012
04:32 PM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Many voters unsatisfied with candidates

(CNN) – A poll released Monday shows voters feel stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to their choices in candidates for the 2012 presidential election.

Only 54% of voters say they are very or fairly satisfied with the presidential choices-a number only slightly changed since June when 56% said they were satisfied. Forty percent however say they are not too or not at all satisfied marking the lowest level of candidate satisfaction since the 1992 presidential election, according to the a national survey by the Pew Research Center and Washington Post.

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In October of 1992, 51% of voters were very or fairly satisfied and 47% were not too or not at all satisfied.

Compare these numbers to the level of satisfaction in September of 2008 when 72% of voters said they were satisfied. In 2004 voters' satisfaction was at 66%; 2000 at 64% and 1996 at 61%.

The poll was conducted from September 20-23, entirely after the posting of a secretly recorded video showing Republican nominee Mitt Romney making controversial comments while courting top-dollar donors at a private fund-raiser in May and over a week after attacks on the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans including the ambassador to Libya.

The survey finds Democrats showing more satisfaction with the candidate field than Republicans, and fewer than half of independent voters, 45%, were either very or fairly satisfied with the presidential selection this election season. Republicans showed more contentment with the candidate field in both 2004 and 2000 while Democrats were more content with their choices in 1996 and 1992.

In 2008, all three groups showed more approval of their presidential choices than in the current election cycle.

The survey was conducted from September 20-23 among 1,005 adults, including 838 registered voters, and has a sampling error plus or minus 3.7 percentage points for the total sample.

CNN's Dana Davidsen and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. HOLY TIGHTY WHITIES WILLARD

    Please poll me. I give Willard an "F" when it comes to likeability, foreign policy, running his campaign, details, facts, the economy, social issues & TRANSPARENCY.

    September 24, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    As one poster puts it, Obama is the only sane choice in 2012.

    September 24, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. Thurston Howell and Lovie Howell

    No suprise republicans are not happy because they were not allowed to choose who they wanted.

    September 24, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. Marie MD

    Anyone who is not a zillionaire and still has a problem with their voting go ahead and vote for the worst candidate ever and watch every thing yo have ever worked for disappear while he laughs at the "you people unwashed masses" struggling even more. The $250M is probably worth closer, if not more, than half a billion dollars.
    He wants to cut the only tax loophole the middle class has which is mortgage interest.
    I am sure that after November 6th he and that non working wife of his will amend their taxes to pay what they should have paid in 2011 . . . . 9.1% You think he is going to let $2M go down the drain?

    September 24, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Vijay

    I wish I had a better choice. Romney is clearly a rich businessmen's candidate and is also trying to protect the right wing flank of the GOP. Obama, great in foreign policy9 thanks to Hillary Clinton in many ways), caring and visionary, has no clue when it comes to the economy, job creation or even handling members of his own party in the congress and the senate.

    September 24, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    GOP: "Mission Accomplished"

    September 24, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. Richard in Boston

    What a stupid poll.

    September 24, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. myviewis

    I think the choice is simple, if you want to work chose Romney.

    If you want to stand in the unemployment line chose Obama. High unemployment is happening right now as we get ready to vote and the middle east is in chaos and they still hate us.

    September 24, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. The REAL Truth...

    @Vijay – Obama, great in foreign policy9 thanks to Hillary Clinton in many ways), caring and visionary, has no clue when it comes to the economy, job creation or even handling members of his own party in the congress and the senate.
    -------------------------------
    I have to disagree – he has plenty of vision. He's trying to get us out of the disaster that he inherited from Dubya's administration and with the other hand fight the filibustering/blocking of the GOBP controlled-House. Pelosi's an idiot – agreed – way too liberal. Reid is running point in the Senate to ensure that the anti-abortion and defense spending increase riders the House adds to EVERY bill goes no further. Any lack of progress by the do-nothing Congress can firmly sit on the Grand Obstructionist Party's shoulders.. not Obama's.
    Lord help us if the GOP gets control of all 3 branches.

    September 24, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. Zac

    There IS a better choice. His name is Gary Johnson.

    September 24, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    Vote liberal for real this time. Go Green party.
    The red/blue strangle hold need not be so if we all vote our conscience instead of letting the media tell us we only have two choices.

    September 24, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. just_a_moderate

    Seriously, that's what this poll unearthed?

    You mean so Mitt & the Seven Political Dwarfs didn't yield something that 35% of the country liked and Obama's 2008 voters realize that BO hasn't returned things to Happyville.

    Well done pollsters, well done.

    September 24, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. Borderless

    Almost half of the country doesn't like either candidate. One of those candidates earned the disdain through his performance as president. It seems pretty obvious that people should be trying out the new guy by default, unless they prefer Obama's proven failure over the imagined future failure of Romney.

    September 24, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  14. Four and The Door

    Wire Palladin, S. F.
    As one poster puts it, Obama is the only sane choice in 2012.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________
    There's nothing sane about doing the same thing that didn't work in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and expecting it to work in 2013. A sane choice is hiring someone who is qualified for the job at hand. Romney/ Ryan 2012. For the 100%.

    September 24, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. myviewis

    Vijay
    has no clue when it comes to the economy, job creation or even handling members of his own party in the congress and the senate.
    --------------------------

    So why would you want to vote for Obama???? to be unemployed????? Why do you think it matters for the next president to know how to handle the economy???? If Obama couldn't handle it in these last 4 years, what makes you think he can handle it in the next 4 years?????? Obama can't handle the economy.

    September 24, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  16. Gurgyl

    ......economy is in upswing motion–look, stocks did not fall–good sign, improving economy gradually whic is collapsed by Bush the thush 2 wars, and Reagan trickle-down nonsense. I admire Obama foreign policy. Obama12.

    September 24, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Why is no one asking "WHERE'S W?", and why isn't he out campaigning with Romney?
    Myviewis screwed, can you answer that question? How about you truth hurts, Fair is Fair, four and the door et al paid bloggers? Everytime you come up with your ridiculous, conveniently amnesiac Faux talking points,this is what people should throw back at you: Where is W?
    So where is he? The man you all claim to miss? I believe that it is the first time in a Republican convention that the previous Republican president was asked NOT to attend. Yes. They told him NOT to attend. What else would've kept him from honoring tradition?

    Where is George W? He should be ou there stumping for Romney like a good little RethugliKKKlan team player.
    Clinton is doing it for President Obama....why isn't George W Bush out there HELPING ROMNEY??

    Face it Rethugs: You are ashamed of George W Bush. It would be pretty hard to deny how badly he screwed up this country with his face right next to Romney's everytime you turned around wouldn't it? Who would've thunk it? Rethuglikkklans with a sense of SHAME.
    Yeah. Please. Shut up, sit down and ACT like you know something.
    Obama 2012.

    September 24, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Four and The Door

    The REAL Truth...
    @Vijay – Obama, great in foreign policy9 thanks to Hillary Clinton in many ways), caring and visionary, has no clue when it comes to the economy, job creation or even handling members of his own party in the congress and the senate.
    -----------
    I have to disagree – he has plenty of vision. He's trying to get us out of the disaster that he inherited from Dubya's administration and with the other hand fight the filibustering/blocking of the GOBP controlled-House
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________
    If Obama thinks he inherited such a bad situation in 2008, why would he run in 2012? The situation is twice as bad. But look at the bright side. He wouldn't have to make up so many lies about how it's getting better because he wouldn't have to worry about voters anymore.

    September 24, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I think that if Romney was out there campaigning with George W that gap of dissatisfied voters would shrink, but I guess Romney doesn't want to take that risk, huh?

    September 24, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. KeninTexas

    President Obama needs to be doing his job as president instead of out campaigning all the time. It seems like that is all he does, is campaign and fund raising. The economy stinks, the world is falling apart and his big thing to to go on The View and interview with The Pimp with a Limp. He has turned "Hope and Change" into "Hope TO Change" this November.

    September 24, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  21. KeninTexas

    Obama needs to be doing his job as president instead of out campaigning all the time. It seems like that is all he does, is campaign and fund raising. He has turned "Hope and Change" into "Hope TO Change" this November.

    September 24, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  22. FedUp

    I don't like either candidate. However, I voted for Obama last time. It won't happen again.

    September 24, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "There's nothing sane about doing the same thing that didn't work in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and expecting it to work in 2013."

    Indeed. That's why we need to take the House away from the GOPers and give the Dems an actual filibuster proof majority in the Senate for more than just a few very short months (Kennedy died in August 2009, so stifle your knee-jerk lying response about 2 years). As for the bare-bones concept of not doing something that has already proven not to work, you only get to talk that kind of crap after officially renouncing the "tax cuts for the rich increase government revenue" nonsense. That too is a lie and was disproven by the Congressional Research Service study released recently that studied the past 65 years of tax policy, tax rates and economic trends. CNN and the MSM are carrying conservatives' water again by refusing to report on it. Thank them for their help. THANK THEM.

    September 24, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  24. Four and The Door

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ...Where is George W? He should be ou there stumping for Romney like a good little RethugliKKKlan team player.
    Clinton is doing it for President Obama....why isn't George W Bush out there HELPING ROMNEY??
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Obama is running on Clinton's record because his own record is failure. Apparently since Bill Clinton blesses Obama/ Biden 2012 everyone is supposed to forget the failure of Obama/ Biden 2008. I do look forward to November.

    September 24, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "It seems pretty obvious that people should be trying out the new guy by default"

    And you just paraphraased Mittens' entire election strategery in a nutshell. Guess what? It's not working. Boohoo.

    September 24, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
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