News Interest Index: Candidates' Policy Positions Still Not Widely Known

Jul 16, 2008

While Barack Obama has been the dominant figure in the presidential campaign, both in press coverage and public visibility, most Americans say they do not know very much about his policy positions. Only 40% say they know a lot or a fair amount about his positions on foreign policy; 59% say they know just some or very little.

These numbers are unchanged from early March. Even among Democrats, just 49% currently know at least a fair amount about Obama's foreign policy positions, while 50% know just some or very little.

Although John McCain has made foreign policy the centerpiece of his campaign, his positions on this subject are only slightly better known than Obama's. Currently, 45% say they know a lot or a fair amount about McCain's positions on foreign policy, while 53% know just some or very little. In March, somewhat more people said they were aware of McCain's foreign policy stances (52%).

The candidates' economic policies also are not very well known by the public. Only about half of Americans (49%) say they know a lot or a fair amount about Obama's economic positions; just 46% say they know at least a fair amount about McCain's.

Read the full report Candidates' Policy Positions Still Not Widely Known on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.

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