Poll: Most Americans 'frustrated' with 2012 race
July 24th, 2012
12:12 AM ET
11 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. Anonymous

    The right wingers, rove and bush in paricular, started these politics as a blood sport tactics, fabricating,distorting,deceiving, and outright lying, and now they want to whine when the more intelligent side does the same think in a more effective manner???

    July 24, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. Cecil

    Sadly negative ads can work in the favor of the candidate that produces them and the campaigns know that. Then there's the tabloid cable news networks like Fox that have an agenda that push negative adds (e.g. FOX actually put out an anti-Obama ad themselves on their own initiative.) Talk about going beyond just reporting the news!

    Don't even get me started on the pundits that get filthy rich stirring up their bases with half truths making the country even more polarized and partisan, while they laugh all the way to the bank. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter come to mind to mention a few.

    July 24, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. .

    They Have got me wondering if either of them should be president at this point. I'll probably vote for the third party if this keeps up. Campaigns shouldn't be about why the other guy sucks but about what they can do for the country. Either one of these guys could fix entire towns with the money they spend to keep the other guy from getting elected.

    July 24, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. enuff

    WHO CARES about who spent more? this is about electing a president! Tell me what you are going to do to help America, not what the other guy spent. And I don't want to hear about bogus trickle down theories so that you can help the wealthy. I am middle class... what are you doing to do to help us?

    July 24, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. israel

    romney is releasing negative ads about how obama is being negative.....he's quite a funny guy

    July 24, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. Neeneko

    Maybe we should just drop elections in favor of a random number generator....

    July 24, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. SDC43

    Would the real Amrican stand up and run for office unfettered by a rabid two-party political system? One who has serious ideas of how to lead a country for the benefit of the WHOLE country and not a select elite from either left or right, who has demonstrated some service to the country he or she would like to lead?

    July 24, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Todd

    Obama's Magic had died off in a lot of people. Also a lot of them voted last time, because of McCain's age and were rather scared of VP choice, and many voted for him, just so they can tell their grand kids that they voted for the first black president.

    Now the race issue is actually really off the plate, we had our first black president, now it is to determine if he gets an other term.

    Now Romney had a track record of being a moderate, however he has been campaigning hard to appear very right, and not shake the etch-a-sketch. But the right wing has been very rabid, and seems to be feeding off lies, to increase their anger. The democrats have been feeding of lies too but not as much.

    So it is going to be a very bitter battle.

    July 24, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Lagos

    Don't like it? Stop voting for the same losers, it's as simple as that. If a quarter of the people fed up with both candidates vote None of the above this election rather than for the lesser of two evils, you may get the change you want. Use your voice, don't waste it.

    July 24, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. joe d

    AIPAC is the root of all evil

    July 24, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. Mandy

    I am sick and tired of people screaming, LIBERALS, LEFTIST, RIGHT WINGERS, REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS. That's what I am frustrated with. Do away with these political parties., Completely. All they do is hinder progress.

    July 24, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. CalmDog

    Negative ads are a waste of time. They promise nothing. They explain nothing. Both sides should have the same campaign slogan this time. "Vote for me. At least I'm not him". Is that the best they've got?

    July 24, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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