A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that the choice of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for president leave Americans feeling frustrated, angry, helpless — suffering from angst and malaise, with little confidence with our political system.
Key findings include:
- Nine in 10 Americans lack confidence in the country’s political system, and among a normally polarized electorate, there are few partisan differences in the public’s lack of faith in the political parties, the nominating process, and the branches of government.
- Seventy percent of Americans say they feel frustrated about this year’s presidential election, including roughly equal proportions of Democrats and Republicans.
- More than half feel helpless and angry.
- Americans do not see either the Republicans or the Democrats as receptive to new ideas or the views of the rank-and-file membership. Fourteen percent say the Democratic Party is responsive to the views of the rank-and-file; Eight percent report that about the Republican Party.
- Only 17 percent of the public say the Democratic Party is open to new ideas about dealing with the country’s problems; Ten percent say that about the Republican Party.
- Only 13 percent say the two-party system for presidential elections works, while 38 percent consider it seriously broken.
- About half (49 percent) say that although the two-party system has real problems, it could still work well with some improvements.
- More than half (56 percent) of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the military.
- Only 24 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the Supreme Court.
- Only 15 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence the executive branch.
- Merely 4 percent of Americans have much faith in Congress. However, more than half (56 percent) of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the military.
- Only 29 percent of Democrats and just 16 percent of Republicans have a great deal of confidence in their party.
- Only 31 percent of Democrats and 17 percent of Republicans have a lot of faith in the fairness of their party’s nominating process.
- The views of ordinary voters are not considered by either party, according to most Americans. Fourteen percent say the Democratic Party is responsive to the views of the rank-and-file; Eight percent report that about the Republican Party.
- Most Republicans (57 percent) say Trump’s candidacy has been good for the Republican Party, although only 15 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of independents agree.
Despite all the angst and malaise Americans are nevertheless interested in the campaign:
Two-thirds (65 percent) of the public say they are interested in the election for president this year; only 31 percent say they are bored. However, only 37 percent are feeling hopeful about the campaign, 23 percent are excited, and just 13 percent say the presidential election make them feel proud.
The AP-NORC poll was conducted May 12-15 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent.
The AP’s article about the poll, notes that Election experts say the gap between Americans’ high interest and low excitement makes the 2016 presidential election highly unpredictable:
“We’re in uncharted territory here with these two candidates,” said Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida who studies voter turnout. He said that while Americans may not be excited about their options, “the negativity gives people something to talk about.”
“If people perceive the election is interesting, they may still show up to vote even if it’s against a candidate,” McDonald added.
Voters are resigned to another election in which they’ll be voting against a candidate instead of for one. They don’t like their choices but they feel not voting may help the candidate they want less.
The poll’s findings are frightening. If the election between Hillary and the Donald causes the electorate so much angst one must wonder about whether the
winner survivor will actually have the consent of the governed, let any mandate with which to govern. I blame the Establishment for this turn of events. Especially the Republican elites who have consistently failed to deliver on what the promised during elections.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary . . .