CNN Poll: What's most important to voters?
August 13th, 2012
04:23 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: What's most important to voters?

Washington (CNN) - How important have vice-presidential picks been in past elections?

Fairly important, but not as crucial as the presidential debates, according to a new national poll released as the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced the moderators of this autumn's four general election debates.

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A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday indicates that 57% of Americans say that in past elections, presidential debates were very important to their vote for president, with 46% saying that the choice of a running a running mate was very important.

The poll was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, before Saturday's announcement by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney that House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was his running mate. This poll can not be seen as a reaction to the Ryan pick.

Forty-one percent said positive television commercials were very important to their vote, 31% saying that convention speeches were very important, one in four said the vice presidential debates were very important, and 13% said that negative TV ads were very important to their vote for president.

"Independents tended to ranked most of those items as less important to them than Democrats and Republicans did," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That's probably because independents are not partisans and tend to tune out overtly political messages. That, in turn, may make it difficult for either candidate to reach this critical bloc of voters, even on debate nights."

The debate commission announced Monday that Candy Crowley, CNN's chief political correspondent and host of "State of the Union," will be the first woman in 20 years to moderate a presidential debate. She'll host the second showdown between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney on October 16 in Hempstead, New York, at Hoftsra University.

Other debate moderators announced Monday included PBS' Jim Lehrer, who will host the October 3 debate in Denver, and CBS' Bob Schieffer, who will host an October 22 debate in Boca Raton, Florida. Martha Raddatz of ABC News will moderate the vice presidential debate, which will be held October 11 in Danville, Kentucky.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International on August 7-8, with,1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

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Filed under: 2012 • Candy Crowley • CNN poll • Polls • Presidential Debate • Vice presidential debate
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. cali girl

    Equal opportunity for all.

    August 13, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. v_mag

    For the first time in U.S. history, we have follower of cult leader Joseph Smith and a follower of atheist Ayn Rand on the ticket of a major party for President/Vice President. At the same time, there is a strange silence from the evangelicals. Yet there are still many on the right who erroneously believe our President is a Muslim.

    Romney/Ryan – The first cultist/atheist presidential ticket in American history.

    August 13, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Until Romney and Ryan are elected, the poor will have a safety net. The question remains, "Why are the rich busy dancing, and the poor have to pay the band.?

    August 13, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Corporate puppets and followers of Ayn Rand are people too, right Mittens?

    August 13, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Most people thought Bush was terrible, but after Mittens/Munster, they will think "W" was a genius.

    August 13, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. Silence DoGood

    @v_mag "..erroneously believe our President is a Muslim"

    Hey there are many liberal voters who think Obama is a liberal. He let his big donator Goldman Sachs get off and his use of the military stands out on its own. OK, he is more liberal than Romney, but based on action, not much more.

    August 13, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. ohio voter

    Just because Romney is a businessman does not mean he will negotiate fiscal policy well.
    I blelieve his views and stances are not good for this country. I heard an interview on NPR
    about just how unpopular his time was there–yes he passed healthcare but the person being
    interviewed said he left the state in a mess-hence we see Mass. almost solidly leaning dem. in
    this election.

    August 13, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Dan

    I wish Romney would have run away from Ryan.

    Ryan repeatedly rejected Reagan-like solutions to Medicare and Social Security. Reagan saved Social Security by gradually increasing the eligibility age. This same solution was part of the Bowles-Simpson plan and was also in President Obama's Grand Bargain proposal.

    Sadly Ryan and House Republicans rejected these plans.

    Instead Ryan and House Republicans offered a plan where in 10 years, everyone under the age of 65 will be asked to pay for something they will never receive. Reagan rejected ideas like this in the 80's. Scott Walker defeated ideas of forcing workers to pay for something they will never receive.

    Instead of learning from Reagan and Walker, Ryan and now Romney are proposing the exact opposite.
    How on earth can I support a Republicans Presidential ticket that clearly rejects Reagan?

    August 13, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. v_mag

    Silence DoGood - I agree completely. I wish for once we could have the choice to vote for a real liberal. I have lots of problems with Obama, but none of them are for him being too liberal.

    I ROFL every time a tightie rightie calls him a socialist. Those guys just don't get out very much (like, to a foreign country). Otherwise, they'd know how conservative (wretch) Obama really is.

    August 13, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |

    I need to see willard's unreleased taxes so i can make an informed decision. Why is he denying that to us ?

    August 13, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. Count Kolob & his Ayn Rand (author of 'Selfishness is a Virtue') disciple Paul Ryan, have new safety net for the poor, sick & elderly called "Path to Puratory" in which you wait for the generic cure of what ailed you

    Romney's tax returns for years 1999-2002.

    August 13, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Pete

    What voters want,to keep these extremist republicans and their destructive ideas and policies as far away from government as possible.Every republican president from Hoover to your past delushional Bush have been catastrophic losers,creating depressions,recessions,stealing from SocialSecurity for balancing federal budgets to creating wars with lies.Please voters think not only for yourselves but for your families futures,if the Romney ,Ann Rand diciple Ryan get in your future is lost,think about it Medicare,SocialSecurity will be on the chopping block.Pres.Obama,VP Biden is the poor and middleclass only answer against the rightwing extremist and the party of "NO".

    August 13, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. REG in AZ

    The choice is clear as long as we keep reality clear in our minds and the reality is that the rhetoric doesn't ever matter as the politicians’ actions will be totally consistent with satisfying the interests of their supporters who demand no less ... and the more support that is given, the more mega-millions that is poured into that support, the more tightly are the strings tied to that support. The abundant and slanted rhetoric offered about the issues is the necessary subterfuge aimed to rationalize, with deception and creative logic, in oder to seem authentic ... but the consistent reality is that the politicians literally have to be focused on satisfying their strong supporters. It is totally obvious when putting the subterfuge aside and considering what is at the heart of their actions, seeing the reality of who always benefits.

    The Republican / Tea Party is owned and controlled by "the money" and over the last twelve years we have clearly seen their "puppet" performances in both the protection of "the money's" interests and their stubborn blocking and arrogant faulting of Obama's and the Democrats' efforts – literally they just have no choice and we should expect nothing else. The Democrats while receiving a few sizable contributions are largely dependent on the people for their support and power, which dictates they have to focus on the people's interests ... with the problem there being "all of the people's interests", with it then being hard to satisfy everyone, thus leaving opportunities for many to be conned and manipulated with appeals to biases, prejudices, fears, emotions and loyalties. In the final analysis, it should be remembered that the Republicans have no choice, no matter how they disguise it, but to cater to the 1% and that just leaves no room for ever satisfying the 99%. The rest is simply BS.

    August 13, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. truth hurts

    >cali girl – Equal opportunity for all.

    you have this now thanks to our founding fathers. sounds like you are too lazy though and are looking for equal outcome for all instead.

    August 13, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. American People

    Of the rich. For the rich. By the rich.

    BTW – When the real class war starts, EVERYONE posting here will be on the SAME side. The POOR side. It's just that some posters here are too stupid to realize that yet. They think the "rich" represent them. Hahahahahaha

    August 13, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. v_mag

    For those who haven't heard, you should check out the credible stories by Amy Goodman and others concerning where Romney got the initial funding for Bain Capital. About 40% of the start up money came from Central Americans with strong ties to death squads in El Salvador that killed tens of thousands of people. These folks still own a large interest in Bain. And Palin said the President "pals around with terrorists"?

    But that shouldn't surprise people, since we know he openly takes campaign contributions from mafiosi Sheldon Adelson.

    August 13, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. obama victim

    it is amusing to watch people defend Barry........please tell me you have more

    August 13, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. Lobo

    Enough with the tax returns. grow up and lets see obamas so called plan. we have to get out of the hole we are in and need to see who is going to do it the quickest and most benifictal way for the whole country as a whole. not just one group ie the old people or those on welfare. so far the only plan on the table is romney ryan s what has the other side done in four years? but cut into medicare with the new healthcare law. the old folks need to be worried about that.

    August 13, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  19. Michael

    What is important to me that Americanever forget "repuglican president and congress left this nation for "dead" after 8 years and Paul Ryan supported everything they did! Repuglican spin machine wants this to be a non-issue, like the, evaporation of 1/2 trillion surplus, -8.9 GDP, 11 trillion national debt, 1.3 trillion deficit, 2.8 trillion in tax cuts (unpaid for)2 Wars (unpaid for), Medicare prescription plan (unpaid for), 3 trillion borrowed from China, a Wall Street, Banking, Auto, Mortgage crisis’s, losing over 800,000 jobs monthly and a economy on the brink of depression when President Obama took office! Repuglican spin is that this economy belongs to Obama! Well, when this country is out the economic pitfall started under George Bush, I will agree!

    August 13, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  20. Jon

    v_mag - another round of Liberal lies being circulated by other liberals ... honestly folks ... telling a lie more time does not make it true. A lie is and always will be a lie.

    August 13, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  21. Jon

    REG in AZ - you could not be more right. "The choice is clear as long as we keep reality clear in our minds and the reality is that the rhetoric doesn't ever matter as the politicians’ actions will be totally consistent with satisfying the interests of their supporters who demand no less ... and the more support that is given, the more mega-millions that is poured into that support, the more tightly are the strings tied to that support"

    So lets remember these things:
    - Obama has raised more money than anyone in the history of running for President!!!
    - Obama's record and his actions speak for themself:
    - He promised to lower the deficit by 50% in his first term – DID NOT DO
    - He told us that Obamacare was not a tax – NOT TRUE
    - He told us that his adminstration would be the most Tranparent ever – NOT TRUE – example Fast and Fourious
    - He told us that by passing his stimulas package unemployment would be below 6% – NOT TRUE
    We could go on and on about Obama's actions ... But remember this, even though Obama said there are 57 States in the United States of America – it still is NOT TRUE

    Dont forget that Obama has done more too:
    - Obama was President when the US credit approval was lowered – a first of the USA
    - Obama's deficit spending for the first 3 years in office is more than, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush combined.

    On the other hand:
    - Romney has outlined his plan for economic recovery
    - Romney has created thousands of jobs in his life time
    - Romney did save the US Olympics and took it from a $400 million deficit to $100 million escrow to maintain the facilities
    - Ryan is the only person running this year that has submitted a budget that got a single vote from Congress
    - Romney and Ryan understand that deficit spending is not the future for America

    August 13, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  22. rs

    A hint: It isn't tax breaks for the rich.

    August 13, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  23. joe smith

    basic every day; gas prices, why no senetor/congressman investigates the high cost of the stuff, when ordinary people on the street know the russian cartels are controlling the distribution of the product/price..two; how health care providers are able to milk out a patients stay to the last dime, then kick them out to a pay as you go facility. three; with all the taxes people pay, how is it, there is no $$ for intrastructure..there's more, but this , if it could be reigned in, would save the average joe billions..

    August 13, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  24. T'sah From Virginia

    ►obama victim
    it is amusing to watch people defend Barry........please tell me you have more◄

    You are your own victim – President Obama did not start this mess and he kept us out of a depression. There are 3 million jobs out there – go get one, if you are not working. If the unemployment rate dropped down to 5%, you most likely will still not be working.

    I hate when a person blames a President because they are not working or doing bad. If I lose my job now I have the right to blame the President – Never in my life I thought that way, Jeez!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    August 13, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    It's bordering on mental illness the way the GOP clings to its failed policies, hoping they can convince enough people to indulge magical thinking and vote against their own self-interest, foolishly believing that if we would just give the rich even more tax breaks and deregulate industry everything will trickle down and everyone will prosper – ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.

    Keep up the good work, Mr. President! Democrats, Independents and thinking Republicans WILL re-elect you to four more years of economic recovery and investment in our and our country's future!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    August 13, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
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