Public Opinion and Polling Essay

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Public Opinion and Polling

Americans are showing signs of disaffection with a presidential campaign that is just beginning. The public thinks the press and large campaign contributors are having too much influence on who gets nominated, and a 60% majority thinks voters themselves have too little say.

The latest Federal Election Commission, conducted on the heels of protracted controversy about coverage of alleged cocaine use by George W. Bush, found public reservations about news coverage of most
"character issues" ranging from youthful drug use to psychological counseling. The poll also shows only a
53% majority of Americans now saying that press scrutiny of political candidates is worth it and a plurality rating
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The latest survey finds 58% of all
Democrats and Independents who lean Democratic saying they would like to see Gore become the nominee -- down from 65% in July. But the vice president's support has tumbled more among Independent Democrats who now divide their loyalties about equally between Bradley and
Gore. In July, they favored Gore to Bradley -- 61% to 33%. As well as helping Bradley, Gore's declining support has created uncertainty among Democratic voters. The percent of Democrats who say they won't vote for either or are undecided has nearly doubled since July -- 6% then to 10% now.

Gore's personal image remains largely unchanged, as he is not penetrating the public's consciousness.
Remarkably, less than half (46%) of the public and only 50% of Democrats can even come up with
Gore's name when asked to name Democrats running for their party's nomination. As to image, the same number of Americans describe Gore in positive terms as did in April (20% vs. 19%). Still nearly as many use words which, while not necessarily negative, poke fun at the vice president, such as "boring," "stiff" or "dull."

Big Bush Lead
Bush's lead over Gore in the presidential horse race remains firm, just as Gore's support from within his own party has

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