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. Say it ain't so

    There is a choice: don't vote at all. On the one hand we have an idiot stupid enough to say he only cares about 53% of americans because the other 47% like obama & won't vote for him. On the other we have a well spoken, articulate, charming & seemingly intelligent candidate who also happens to be an idiot stupid enough to stay making promises 4yrs into his presidency, making statements as "the economy is good, it's just a working progress" really? Is that why the national debt has risen from $10 trillion to $16 trillion during your term & unemployment has dropped a bit but that's because people stopped looking for work so they gave up. It i could vote for the independents i will otherwise i'm not helping to put the final nail on the coffin of this nation.

    September 24, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. Gungho95

    They are both terrible!!! Obama has had four years and accomplished NOTHING. I get that he inherited a bad situation, but he's had four years to fix it and its only got worse. I don't think Romney is the answer either, but we need a change. Forget about being democrat or republican and think about this, has America gone the direction you wanted it too the last 4, 3, 2, 1 years?

    September 24, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  3. myviewis

    Four and The Door
    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.
    -----------------------------

    You mean he could spend more time with Hollywood, basketball athletes, playing golf and making beer without worrying about voters.

    September 24, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. ronb

    Come on average GOPers! You know that Romney is NOT going to look out for you. You've been betrayed.

    September 24, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  5. Richard

    Does he really deserve another 4???? We all have family in the medicare window, and our nation’s seniors deserve better. President Obama took $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare – jeopardizing benefits and reducing access to care.
    And we sit and talk about not liking the candidates, so what, deal with what we have, and certainly vote for the person that will be most likely to turn it around! Obviously, that is not the President, considering the current state of economy, and the need for more jobs. I really don't get it?

    September 24, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans are helter skelter and have been left with no counter attack. Any attack on Obama is an attack on GWB, which they just really wish Americans would forget about because they skip over his presidency and go all the way back to Reagan. In 8 years GWB created 2 wars which weren't paid for, medicare that wasn't paid and left this country in an economic down fall. 80% of our National debt was on the table when Bush left office. FACT.

    September 24, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Mark

    There is more than 2 choices! Gary Johnson 2012!

    September 24, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. GaryJohnson2012

    Gary Johnson, Gary Johnson, Gary Johnson! Tired of the voting for the same policies, sick of choosing between the lesser of two evils? Don't believe what all the polls tell you. There is another choice. His name is Gary Johnson. He is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. He wants all Americans to Live FREE without the government holding everyone's hand. VOTE FOR LIBERTY!
    GARY JOHNSON 2012

    September 24, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. MikeB

    This election is bigger than the candidates.
    This election is a choice between Personal Liberty and National Sovereignty or Subjection to Global Elites and National Surrender.
    The Globalist Faction of Bush and Obama have been subverting our personal liberties and national sovereignty. The Nationalist that Romney is willing to entertain will preserve our Personal Liberties and National Sovereignty.
    It's no longer about party; since the parties are just sororities uses by factions. It's about preserving the 'Free World'.

    September 24, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  10. don in albuquerque

    Sorry I mised it. Did Mitt-Witt say how he is going to create these 12 million jobs? What....oh....I didn't think so. Just like the repugs ran on Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, last time and then struck down every single jobs bill that came along. I guess what women were doing with contraceptives was SO MUCH more important. Mitt-Witt qualified for the job? Only if BOZO the clown in unavailabel. OOOps, the GOP offered it to Bozo and he said no thanks. Mitt-–not even a good excuse for a moron.

    September 24, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  11. James

    I am one hundred percent satisfied with my choice but that is because I am an educated voted who will be voting for Gary Johnson this election season.

    September 24, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  12. on StreetWise

    Just one small question for Gov. Romney; How more taxes should be added to a person living on a Social Security check, to keep you and your wealthy friends on or below your 13.9% tax bracket? Now, Romney and Ryan say that people who receive government assistance are in effect; slackers… Woops, there goes most of the vets with disability, elderly, children with disabilities, etc. etc. etc. I guess that leaves him with the 1%’ers… LOL!

    September 24, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. Samantha

    four and the door...theres also nothing sane to go back to the same policies Bush used is there?

    September 24, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  14. MEB

    Voters remain dissatisfied, not unsatisfied.

    September 24, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  15. Nlsme

    Four and the door, please explain how it is twice as bad? 30 straight months of private sector job growth, stock markets doing great, OBL dead, out of one war, winding down the other, health care not just for the wealthy, manufacturers coming back to the states, home prices rising again,..... Please, use facts, and not faux news punchlines.

    September 24, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  16. Mammy

    Don't blame me – I voted for Jefferson Davis.

    September 24, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  17. Randy, San Francisco

    Seems the GOP/Tea Party has buyer's remorse...and whose fault is that? GOP/Tea Party voters have only to look in the mirror.

    September 24, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  18. lnd72

    I'm certainly not satisfied with Romney, but I'll vote for him anyway. I'm convinced that the President's health care law is only the beginning of the changes he wants to put into place in this country. We will probably have to suffer the pain of these experiments to see how damaging they are though.

    September 24, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  19. Memoe

    II have ten empty chairs hanging in my tree in the front lawn so far and am taking donations!

    September 24, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  20. No Thanks, Romney

    My business is doing much better than in 2008, the worst year I have ever had. My 401K is back up and my customers are very hopeful. I have lived thru many boom & bust times is the US and the jobs always come back, this time the difference is a "do nothing" congress. I won't give the Republicans in congress their wish of Obama being a one term President, they are traitors to this country anyway, signing a pledge to Grover Norquist. Anyone who signed that pledge should be tarred and feathered.

    September 24, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  21. kayla

    myviews wrote if you want job vote for the twiit, is that why he was 47 in massachusets? some job creation hah?

    September 24, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  22. Spenc

    If I don't vote this year, no one tell me I can't complain. Because I'll tell you neither one of these clowns deserves my vote, and you are a fool for believing either candidate is the solution.

    September 24, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  23. Sharon Mahart

    Thank the media, including and especially CNN. We have a number of other excellent candidates, but alas, we'll never hear word one about any of them. When the same corporations, er "people", own the media and the two parties, this is the "democracy" we get. Just take your pick, they own both guys. Yes, our forefathers bled so we could reach this point as a nation. Shame on all of us.

    September 24, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. TERRY WILSON

    are you serious?... the economic climate is in a MUCH BETTER position than in 2008 where we were losing not just jobs complete bizzs were closing a record pace our banking system was bancrup ands getting worse...the hosing collapse and no REPUBS it wasn't Pres. Obama's policies that did that it was GW's and that's why his own party is so ashamed of him he WAS asked not to attend the republican convention... wake up guys we were 1 foot in the grave as a country... we are on the right track to shore uo the working class citzens and yes by doing so the top 1% get as rich like they did in the late 90's with Pres.Clinton stop looking at his party and look at what he is doing.

    September 24, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  25. CBR

    Mr. Romney does not appear to want help from other Republicans. That is telling in itself. However,each time we have a presidential election ther are those who are not happy with the candidates. There is no perfect candidate and we all have the task of voting for the person we will do the best job. We have the candidates and now we must vote.

    It really does not matter who gets nominated. By the time the media, other politicians and all of us get through talking about them and pointing out their imperfections we find we have candidates who are human and who have faults. WE are now hearing about candidates for 2016. By the time 2014 or 20154 comes around these people will be analyzed, discussed, put under the microscope and more. We may hot even recognize them by then. It would be lovely to allow us the chance to get to know the candidates without the media and pundits telling us what they think we should know.

    September 24, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
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