66% of Americans back primary presidential candidates

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma January 20, 2016. © Nick Oxford
A Gallup poll released Friday showed that two out of three Americans think one of the primary presidential candidates would make a good president, but 60 percent said they don’t believe the election process is working as it should.

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

When asked the same question during the 2012 election, 48 percent said they believed any of the candidates would be a good president. This was the year where Barack Obama was running for re-election. According to Gallup, “presidential elections featuring an incumbent seeking re-election tend to have fields of candidates whom the public regards less highly.”

In 1992, when Bill Clinton ran against incumbent George H.W. Bush, 40 percent said they thought there was a good candidate.

In 2008, 84 percent believed this to be true, and in 2000, 75 percent said they thought so. Both of these years had no incumbent candidate. Comparing these years with this election shows a decline in voter confidence in presidential candidates.

The poll found Republicans and Democrats were as likely to say that there is a promising candidate running, with 76 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats saying they believe this to be the case.

The poll also asked whether they believe the election process is working as it should. Sixty percent believe that it is not. Results from the previous elections show the faith in the election process falling each year. In 2011, 58 percent said they don’t think the process is working as it should. In 2008, thirty percent said they thought it wasn’t working.

The US has a lower voter turnout than other developed democracies, with 60 percent turning out to vote in presidential elections. According to Fair Vote, 1960 had the highest voter turnout at 63.8 percent. In 2012, 58 percent of eligible voters voted.

The poll was carried by phone, asking a random sample of 1,017 adults across the US, with a quota of 60 percent landline and 40 percent cell phone calls.

Gallup made a stir when it announced it would not partake in the primary race for the 2016 presidential election, after an internal review into its troubled 2012 polling which inaccurately showed Mitt Romney ahead of Obama. They decided to focus on how the public reacts to candidates opinions on issues for this election.