Starved for Choice

Oct 26, 2010 6:47am

If you’re feeling starved for choice in the midterm elections, join the club.

So finds the latest ABC News/Yahoo! News poll, in which just 19 percent of Americans feel there are at least a “good amount” of candidates available to them who share their view of what the country needs. Forty-six percent instead see few or even no such choices.

That leaves 35 percent who don’t know if there are any candidates with whom they agree, a number that’s about as high (30 percent) among registered voters. Those look to be the folks who’ve tuned the whole thing out.

For the rest, it could be worse. Just 10 percent say there are flatly no candidates – zero, none, not one – available to them who share their view of what needs to be done to improve things in this country. An additional 36 percent say there are some, but “just a few.”

This poll, done for ABC and Yahoo! News by Langer Research Associates, also tackles views of  American exceptionalism – whether this is the “greatest country in the world” – and optimism about the structure and performance of the U.S. system of government. See that here. 

Satisfaction with candidates is lowest among independents; just 14 percent say there are a lot or a good amount of candidates with whom they agree. It’s 20 percent among Democrats and 26 percent among Republicans (the latter a significant difference vs. independents). 

Democrats, for their part, are more apt than Republicans to be tuned out; 40 percent of Democrats, vs. 29 percent in the GOP, say they don’t know if there are candidates out there who share their view of what’s needed. That reflects the greater GOP engagement that’s energizing the party this cycle.

Among other differences, a sense that there are candidates available who know what needs doing is lower in the Northeast than in the rest of the country combined, slightly lower among less-educated adults than among those who’ve been to college, and lower among people with less than $50,000 a year in household incomes than it is among those who are better off.

Click here for the full results.

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