Half of voters feel unrepresented by either candidate
By Sophie Clements
A total of 46% of voters feel unrepresented by either presidential candidate, according to the latest figures released in a Gallup Poll.
The findings show that just over half of American voters – 54% – have the same ideological views as President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, or both.
This leaves the remaining 46% feeling unrepresented by either candidate.
Calculations for the poll are based on a comparison of voters’ perceptions of the two candidates’ ideological positions with their own personal ideology.
Overall, around one in four (27%) US voters have the same ideology as they observe Obama to have, and an equal percentage have the same ideological position as Republican challenger Romney.
Although this gives a sense of how close both candidates are to their supporting voters, it also reveals that half the population are left feeling unable to identify with either ideology.
This suggests that a substantial percentage of the American public would feel unsure how to vote before November 6th.
23% of US voters describe their views as liberal or very liberal, 31% as moderate, and 42% as conservative or very conservative.
Consequently 17% of voters perceive both Obama and Romney as more liberal than they are, and 11% perceive them as more conservative. Collectively, these 28% of Americans have very strong political views, either too far to the right of Romney or too far to the left of Obama.
Adding those 28% to the further 18% of voters who say that they have mixed views or that they have no opinion, results in the 46% who remain unrepresented.
A survey conducted by Pew Research found that out of these non-voters 64% had a favourable view of President Obama, and just half as many view Romney the same way at 32%. When it comes to supporting a particular party, 29% of these non-voters identify themselves as Democrat and just 17% regard themselves as Republicans.
The demographic make up of non-voters is not too surprising with 52% of them being members of families on an income of $30,000 or less.
21% of the non-voters are Hispanic, which is three times higher than the number of hispanic voters.
In regards to the candidates policy’s; 46% of non-voters would like to keep the 2010 health care law with 56% favouring the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible. On the issue of gay marriage and abortion, 49% of non-voters believe all couples should have the same rights when it comes to marriage and 54% believe that abortion should be legal in all cases.
Previous elections demonstrate that candidates whose ideological image is more out of step with the public’s political views can nonetheless win. Factors other than ideological philosophies, such as performance or basic favourability, may matter more.
Still, for some Americans, their vote will be determined by whom they disagree with less.