Negativity of Campaign Dampening Public Interest

Posted April 24, 2008 at 1:22pm

While the days leading up to the Pennsylvania primary may have been high drama for the candidates, their supporters and the press, Pew Research says that the interest of Americans in what they see as “an excessively negative presidential campaign” declined during that period. Pew’s survey showed that only 29 percent of Americans said they paid very close attention to campaign news last week, the lowest figure since last December. That compares to 43 percent who followed the news closely during the weekend before the Texas and Ohio primaries. The number of Democrats following the campaign news closely last week was 38 percent compared to more than half of them in February.

For the April 18-21 period, Americans saw the campaign as too negative by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin. That number was pretty consistent across Democrats, Republicans and independents. In February, only 28 percent of Americans and 19 percent of Democrats called the race too negative.

Fifty-nine percent of voters described the campaign as interesting compared to 35 percent who called it dull, the latter number being up from 25 percent in February.