Mud Slinging, Moral Values Were Issues for Voters in 2004

Source Organization: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

11/11/2004 - Campaign 2004 receives generally favorable marks from the voters. An overwhelming 86% say they learned enough about the candidates to make an informed choice, while two-thirds express satisfaction with the choice of candidates. However, voters also believe this campaign was more negative than previous contests ­ 72% say there was more mud-slinging in this campaign compared with past elections, up from just 34% who said that four years ago.

The Pew Research Center's quadrennial post-election survey, conducted among 1,209 voters who were originally interviewed in October, finds that a third of all voters say they are very satisfied with their choice of candidates ­ the highest percentage expressing that view in post-election surveys dating to 1988. That reflects extraordinary enthusiasm among Republicans, 63% of whom express a high degree of satisfaction with the candidates. As a point of comparison, in 1996 just 34% of Democrats said they were very satisfied with the candidates after Bill Clinton's easy reelection victory.

For their part, supporters of Sen. John Kerry are struggling with a range of emotions following their candidate's defeat. The dominant reaction to Bush's reelection among Kerry's supporters is disappointment (82%), but about a third (35%) say they feel angry over the election outcome. Liberals, in particular, express intense feelings as a result of the election. Roughly half of Kerry's liberal supporters say they feel angry (53%) or depressed (47%) because of Bush's victory.

In contrast, large majorities of Bush voters say they feel reassured, relieved and safer as a consequence of the president's reelection. However, while 72% of Bush's conservative supporters say they feel a sense of excitement as a result of Bush's win, just 48% of moderate and liberal Republicans share that sentiment.

PDF Report:Moral Values: How Important? Voters Liked Campaign 2004, But Too Much 'Mud Slinging'

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