02/23/2007 - The 2008 presidential campaign has kicked off earlier than usual with more candidates than usual, but many people appear not to have noticed. Americans are no more likely to say they have given the presidential campaign much thought than they did in December, and just small minorities can name a candidate they might support.
The public's lack of engagement in the campaign is reflected in how people are reacting to the large slates of potential candidates in both parties. Of the announced and highly probable candidates, only a few in each party are widely familiar. The results of in-depth questions suggest that the images of even the well-known candidates are fairly thin.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Feb. 7-11 among 1,509 Americans, finds that Democrats are further along than Republicans in thinking about possible presidential candidates. First, a larger percentage of the Democrats than Republicans are paying attention to the campaign (31% vs. 20%). Notably, 38% of liberal Democrats say they have given the campaign a lot of thought, compared with just 24% of conservative Republicans. And while nearly half of Democrats (46%) volunteered a presidential candidate they might support, only 29% of Republicans named a candidate for whom they might vote.
Read the full analysis Voters Remain In Neutral As Presidential Campaign Moves Into High Gear, Republicans Lag in Engagement and Enthusiasm for Candidates on the Pew Research Center Web site.