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. Name Withheld

    I am unsatisfied with the discourse. Listen, pick, and cast your vote if you so choose. Me I am done. Couldn't change my mind with electroshock therapy. Lucky me does'nt have to listen to all the sniping any more

    September 24, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  2. Tim jones

    Vote for Ron Paul!

    September 24, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  3. Wes Monroe

    "Bump in the road"...............? Obama's whole presidency has been a bump in the road.

    September 24, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  4. Reggie from LA

    I don't think either of them would do anything for me. Hang on a sec. I gotta put Junior on my health insurance. Where was I? Just because I can sue for equal pay, what, I should be beholding to Obama? You're dam right I should be able to collect my social security, and get medicare benefits. Vouchers my a.. I invested into those programs. Romney hasn't done squat for me or anybody else. Really? Who? Not even the rich really. Guess he has to win so they can puppet him from his behind. Ryan is just going to...Ryan?!! See they are awful candidates.

    September 24, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  5. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    Look at all the loser gop bafoon party canadates they elected in 2010 , let's not make the same mistakes twice . Gop out in,Nov .

    September 24, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  6. southern democrat

    Myview – @ least Obama fights for the uneducated. Learn the dif between chose and choose.

    September 24, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If we could have all the smaller parties shown the American public, then there would be more satisfaction among the possible candidates.

    September 24, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  8. The Right Left

    Brit Hume on OReilly show put it aptly. Unless Romney a sharp pull up duirng debates, he is taost.

    I say he is already cooked – Well Done – charred – unpalatable.

    September 24, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  9. Thomas

    Like one poster said , he would vote for a door nob before he would vote for Obama.

    That's all Romney has going for him , those that hate Obama for whatever reason would rather have a door nob as there President .

    Romney / Ryan
    A door nob for lobbyists 2012

    September 24, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  10. Mike

    The economy is not in free fall like it was when he took office. Jobs are being added and would be at a better pace if the do nothing GOP congress looked out for the country and not their party. That 47% speech from Romney also had his comments on how he would fix the economy. Do nothing. That is right do nothing. The election of the great Mitt will create so much optimism that jobs will just bust out everywhere as businesses all start investing in growth. That is Mitt's own words. Talk about clueless. If you think this guy will fix the economy I got some mortgage backed securities I will sell you.

    September 24, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  11. Sourlemon

    So negative it just showing how unhappy Voters are with the choice they have. Why does everything turn into a argument?

    September 24, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  12. American

    Obama = death to America!

    September 24, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  13. FlotsamJetsam

    Obama has done a great job under an impossible situation. I hope he gets another term.

    September 24, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  14. flavoter

    I have heard the President continually talk about his plan for infrastructure repairs and upgrade, his plan for greatly needed high speed rail (After 6 years in Europe in the U.S. Army and loving riding the on time trains how could we not have high speed rail??) I personally have no problem cutting some of the waste that goes to defense contractors to pay for it. The President also discusses cutting overpriced tuition, upgrading local schools. All good stuff in my book.
    Also why is there a requirement for most jobs now!!! To have a degree what happened to the days that starting from the ground up and moving up the ladder? Oh wait I forgot business and schools partnered together to keep customers coming in the door thus high tuition costs (greed).
    But these plans are not heard by the media because they are not breaking news of the day.
    The American people need to understand we have to remove the obstructionist in Washington DC. And don't forget voting down ballot matter....

    September 24, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  15. Lmj

    You people dont realize we can write in anybody when you go to vote... If you dont like either one dont vote for the lesser of two evils. Do your research and vote wisely. Do you want the popular liar, or a corporate bully.....

    September 24, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  16. mat

    Agree with the poll.

    This election is who we dislike most? ????

    So it will be against Obama and Obama care!!!

    September 24, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  17. Name w.bullock

    I am not holy white willard
    I know that people are keep play game about fraud vote acorn vote and fraud check scam from afrcian amercian

    September 25, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  18. Voter

    While Romney wouldn't have been my first choice, President Obama would've been my last choice. He's wrecked this country and wants 4 more years to denegrate it? No! He has taken a defecit to astronomical proportions, and expects only those who work to pay for it!. The sad fact is I voted for this man one time, but I won't again.

    September 25, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  19. Voter

    Romneys statement about the 47% is true. Look at your neighbor. Are they paying taxes? No? Look at the guy down the street who is renting & getting medical assistance. Is he paying taxes? no. The reason why is because if you have enough people paying out what people are taking...it equals out. Means we pay so some people don't have to work. I get that some people are lazy...but lets find a way to get their butts off the couch! I'm tired of feeding Bertha. she can work for her food. If Mitt Romney can do this, he has my vote!

    September 25, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  20. Name Suzette

    Obama is cleaning up the mess the Rethugs did. Mitt still need to be less arrogant and show his tax for previous years

    September 25, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  21. Valar Morghulis

    The voters get what they deserve. Obviously they don't deserve better candidates because they are not willing to work to get them. Our political system is reaching the point of being unworkable. Money plays too big a part in candidates getting elected or staying in office. There is an entire industry built around getting candidates elected. Their agenda is not what the voters are looking for. Too much is spent on TV advertising. In the age of the Internet the argument that a candidate can't possibly meet face to face is no longer true. Virtual town hall meetings are completely possible and should be the preferred way to face the voters. But the candidates don't necessarily want to meet the voters or face hard questions about things that matter to them. The candidate has his/her game plan for getting elected using these paid consultant and handlers. If we are trusting these people to run our government shouldn't they at least be capable of making their own case for why they should be elected and not rely on polls or which way the wind happens to be blowing on a given day?

    The whole system stinks and it needs to be reformed.

    September 25, 2012 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  22. Marry

    Watch “the videos” and then tell me again why you would vote for scam bags like Romney and Ryan and the obstructionist GOP/TP congress or the filibuster GOP Senate…
    Not only did they make us suffer in the Bush administration – they have no shame blaming the President for not cleaning up the mess fast enough…so they can immediately start a new even bigger mess! Every vote for the GOP and R+R is a vote against all that is decent and helpful to all the people of the USA and – after their stands on foreign police – the world!

    September 25, 2012 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  23. scott

    He is right the only thing Obama ever did was give the order to Get Bin Laden, which any sitting ppresident would have given the order. The Middle east is in a shambles, China is walking all over us. Iran is thumbing their nose at us, and what does Obama do, goes on the hen club show called the view, with a bunch of washed up women from the entertainment world,instead of meeting with world leaders. He caleed the death of our ambassador a bump in the road, Obama a lousy President, with no class, no brains, and a coward to boot. I give Obama a F in all areas.

    Romney /Ryan 2012.

    September 25, 2012 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  24. Odalice Feliz

    We need to stop basing or vote on what we feel and start seeing the facts and truth about things.
    We need a president that stays focus on his promises and keep the people on solid grown.

    September 25, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  25. Chris

    I hate articles and news stories like this that try to equate the two major candidates. First of all, there are other candidates in the race. Second, they make it sound like the reasons people are disenchanted with Obama and Romney are equally valid, when they are so not. Obama is keeping us a war with Afghani militants, while Romney would start new wars with Iran, Syria, Russia, etc. Obama extended the Patriot Act and illegal wiretapping, while Romney would do this as well as take away a woman's right to choose. Obama "comprpmises" with Republicans by giving in to their terrorist demands, while Romney would be the one flying the plane into the building (metaphorically speaking of course). Obama doesn't fight for the middle class enough, but Romney fights for no one but the upper crust.

    If I lived in a swing state, there is no question as to for whom I would be casting my ballot. Since I live in a deeply red state, I can explore other options. That is why I am voting Green. Stein/Honkala 2012.

    September 25, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
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