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At Least One Candidate Would Be Good President, 66% in U.S. Say

At Least One Candidate Would Be Good President, 66% in U.S. Say
by Andrew Dugan

Story Highlights

  • Figure is lower than it was during the 2008 and 2000 elections
  • Republicans as likely as Democrats to say a good president in the field
  • 37% say conduct of campaign bad sign for nation's election system

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Two in three Americans (66%) believe there is at least one presidential candidate in this year's field who would make a good president. This is lower than the percentage who said the same during January of the 2000 (75%) and 2008 (84%) presidential elections -- also races without an incumbent.

Trend: Is there any candidate running who you think would make a good president, or not?

Presidential elections featuring an incumbent seeking re-election tend to have fields of candidates whom the public regards less highly. In January 1992, the public was evenly divided on whether the presidential field had a candidate who would be a good president. In the 2012 election cycle, less than half the country said there was a good president in the pool of candidates.

Republicans and Democrats Are Equally Likely to Say a Good Candidate Is Running

Republicans may have more presidential candidates to choose from than Democrats, but partisans of the two parties seem equally pleased with the field -- 76% of Republicans and 73% of Democrats say there is a candidate in the mix who would be a good president. Independents are less positive, with 58% expressing a similar opinion.

Both party groups are slightly less content with the field than they were in January 2008, during the last election that featured no incumbent running for another term. Independents see much less potential in this presidential field than they did in the 2008 offering.

Agreement That 2016 Presidential Field Has Candidates Who Would Make a Good President, by Party

Fewer Than Four in 10 Say Election Process Is Working as It Should

Thirty-seven percent of U.S. adults say the presidential campaign is being conducted in a way that makes them feel the electoral process is working as it should. This is about as low as Gallup found in December 2011 (39%), which reflected a decline of nearly 30 percentage points from the previous election. In January 2000 and 2008, majorities (57% and 67%, respectively) said the presidential campaign in each year was being conducted in a way that inspired confidence in the election process.

Does the way the presidential campaign is being conducted make you feel as though the election process is working as it should, or not?

Democrats are much less likely today than they were in 2008 (by 40 points) to say the conduct of the campaign speaks well to the election process. The percentage of Republicans saying "yes" has dropped 19 points over this time, while the percentage of independents saying "yes" has fallen 28 points.

Does the way the presidential campaign is being conducted make you feel as though the election process is working as it should? % Yes, by party

Bottom Line

A majority of the country believes this year's presidential field can produce a quality president, but this figure stands below comparable ones for the two most recent open-seat elections in 2000 and, especially, 2008. Neither party holds a distinct edge on this question -- Republicans and Democrats are equally likely to say they could see a 2016 candidate become a good president.

Americans are less positive about how the conduct of the current presidential campaign reflects on the overall electoral system, a continuation of a trend first evinced in late 2011.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 15-16, 2016, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

Gallup


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