Campaign 2012: Too Negative, Too Long, Dull

Jan 18, 2012

As the Republican candidates battle for the chance to challenge Barack Obama in November, many Americans are highly critical of the presidential campaign.

Half (50%) say the campaign has been too negative. By comparison, four years ago, amidst primary fights in both parties, just 28% said the campaign at that point was too negative. Current ratings are more comparable to impressions of the 2004 Democratic primary campaign.

Most Americans (55%) describe the 2012 campaign so far as dull, with just 36% saying they find it interesting. This, too, is a reversal from four years ago, when seven-in-ten rated the campaign as interesting and just a quarter said it was dull. The share rating the 2012 campaign as either informative or important is also significantly lower than at a comparable point in 2008.

One constant is the impression that the campaign is too long. According to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted Jan. 12-15 among 1,008 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 57% say the campaign has been too long, while 35% say it has not been too long.  This is virtually identical to public evaluations of previous presidential campaigns.

Read the full report, Campaign 2012: Too Negative, Too Long, Dull, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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