Survey: 2/3 of Americans don't think presidential campaign addresses their most important concerns
Americans remain just as frustrated and angry about the election in the last six weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign as they were in May when the primaries were drawing to a close. In the latest national poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the public says the campaigns are not addressing their issues and concerns, and that there is too much focus on personal aspects of the candidates and not enough on their qualifications.
The issues that matter most to the public overall are health care, Social Security, education, and terrorism. Priorities differ between parties, however, with Republicans caring more about issues like terrorism and taxes while Democrats are more concerned with health care and the environment.
"Even though interest in the campaign is generally high, a significant proportion of the public feels marginalized by this election," said Trevor Tompson, director of The AP-NORC Center. "More than a third of Americans don't hold favorable opinions of either the Democratic or Republican candidate and an overwhelming majority of them tell us they are frustrated by the campaign. With six weeks until the election, many people in this group have tuned out."
Some of the poll's key findings are:
- The public is more inclined to have negative emotions regarding the 2016 presidential election than positive ones. Three-quarters are frustrated and more than half say the campaign is making them feel angry or helpless. In comparison, only 4 in 10 are hopeful, a quarter are excited, and less than 2 in 10 say they are proud.
- Thirty-five percent of Americans do not have a positive view of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. These people are particularly likely to express feelings of frustration, anger and helplessness about the campaign.
- Two-thirds of Americans do not think the presidential campaign is adequately addressing the concerns and the issues that matter most to them. While more than half of the public says coverage of the candidates' experience and qualifications is getting short shrift, about the same number say there is too much focus on the candidates' personal qualities.
- While Americans may be unhappy with how the campaign is developing this year, they are not uninterested. Less than 3 in 10 say they are bored by the campaign. Fully 6 in 10 are paying a considerable amount of attention to the campaign so far.
- Top issues among Republicans include terrorism and national security, economic growth, and taxes, with at least 8 in 10 saying each of these are important to them.
- For Democrats, their top priorities include health care, education, and Social Security, also with at least 8 in 10 saying each is important to them.
- The presidential election may be monopolizing the focus of the media, while overlooking other campaigns. Nearly half of Americans say there is not enough media attention being given to down-ticket races in their state, while only a quarter of the public think the media are giving too much attention to those non-presidential campaigns.