Election season is starting to heat up, with a dozen candidates having already declared their bid for the White House in 2016 and a handful of others expected to declare later this month.
But before Americans are overwhelmed with caucuses, debates, commercials, scandals, and so on, Pew Research has asked for their opinion on their party’s candidates.
Pew surveyed some 2000 adults from May 12 to 18 to see how they felt about the people representing their party in the upcoming election. They found that 57% of Republicans and 54% of Democrats held a positive view of their party’s presidential candidates.
However, Republicans are feeling much more positive about their choices this year than they have at comparative times during the election cycle in 2011 and 2007. In May 2011, only 44% of Republicans felt good about their party’s candidates; in May 2007, 50% did.
Conversely, 64% of Democrats felt good about their party’s chances in May of 2007, while only 44% did in 2003 when they were challenging incumbent President George W. Bush. This matches how Republicans felt when they were challenging incumbent President Barack Obama in 2011.
But after two terms with Obama, the survey indicates that Democrats are less confident in their party’s chances in a general election — similar to how Republicans felt in 2007 after two terms with George W. Bush.
Unsurprisingly, Pew also found the individual Republican candidates vary in popularity.
The survey showed that 54% of Republicans view former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee favourably (R), making him the favourite among the 6 surveyed GOP candidates. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is viewed favourably by 52% of Republicans surveyed, but is also viewed negatively by 35% — the most of any GOP hopeful on the survey, which Pew attributes to him being the most well known candidate.
Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) ties Bush with 52% of voters viewing him favourably. Rounding out the top six are Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), with 51%; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), with 46%; and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), with 45%.
CNN performed a similar study of some 1000 voters in May. They found that half of those surveyed considered Bush to be “a lot like his brother,” former President George W. Bush, and 56% said his lineage would make them less likely to support his bid for the presidency.
In addition, 77% of those surveyed said Rubio is representative of the future of the Republican party, while 75% said the same of Walker; Jeb Bush claimed only 51% of that vote.
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is viewed favourably by 77% of Democrats in the Pew survey. However, among the general voting population, Clinton is only viewed favourably by 49% of those surveyed, while 47% view her unfavorably. In addition, Clinton’s overall favorability rating has fallen nine points from last August, when it sat at 58%. This is Clinton’s lowest rating since she sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
The CNN poll found that more people view Clinton unfavorably now than at any time since 2001. In particular, 57% of those surveyed don’t view the former senator, first lady, and secretary of state as honest or trustworthy. And 47% of voters surveyed do not feel Clinton “cares about them,” while 50% feel that she does not inspire confidence.
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