By Dan McCue, Courthouse News Service
(CN) – The 2016 presidential campaign has inspired voter strong interest, but as the two major political parties prepare for their respective nominating conventions, satisfaction with the candidates is the lowest it’s been in decades, the Pew Research Center said Thursday.
The center’s analysis offers a bleak picture of voters’ impressions of the presidential campaign and the choices they face in November.
While both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump continue to draw thousands to their respective campaign rallies, fewer than half of registered voters in both parties — 43% of Democrats and 40% of Republicans — say they are satisfied with their choices for president, the Pew Research Center said.
What’s more, the center found that about four-in-10 voters (41%) say they will have a difficult time choosing between Trump and Clinton because they believe neither would be a good president.
That’s the highest level of dissatisfaction in the Democratic and Republican nominees since Vice President Al Gore faced then-former Texas Gov. George W. Bush in 2000 — an election ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Bush v. Gore (pdf) decision.
By comparison, only 11 percent of voters contacted by Pew researchers believe either candidate would make a good president — the lowest percentage in five presidential election cycles.
Plumbing the reasons behind these woeful numbers, the Pew researchers found — no surprise, really — that this year’s presidential contest is widely viewed as being excessively negative with little, if any focus on the concerns of real Americans.
Just 27% of voters feel the campaign is “focused on important policy debates” — seven points lower than researchers found in December, before the primaries began.
When it comes to …