Voters say this year’s election more negative than 2008

obama romney second debate

(CNN) — A majority of voters in last week’s election say the months-long contest between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was more negative than four years ago, and less focused on issues, according to a poll released Thursday, November 15th.

The survey, from the Pew Research Center, indicated 68% of 2012 voters thought the there was more negative campaigning than usual, compared to 54% who said the same thing following the 2008 battle between Obama and Sen. John McCain.

Similarly, a majority of voters – 51% — thought the 2012 race had less discussion of issues than usual. Thirty-four percent had that sentiment in 2008.

Obama and Romney fared almost identically when voters were asked to assign a grade to each candidate. Obama came away with a C+ average, while the GOP nominee stood at a C.

Other players in the 2012 contest were graded in the same fashion. The press had a grade of C-, while the pollsters, campaign consultants and voters all walked away with a C+.

Despite those lukewarm responses to the campaign, a large majority of voters – 70% — said they were either very or fairly satisfied with their choice of presidential candidates. Twenty-eight percent said they were not satisfied.

An even greater percentage, 87%, said that they had learned enough about both Obama and Romney to make a choice by Election Day. Eleven percent said they still hadn’t learned enough about each candidate to make an informed choice before casting their ballots.

What helped voters make up their minds? Sixty-six percent said the three presidential debates (and one vice presidential debate) were helpful in making their selection. Conversely, 72% said campaign commercials were not helpful in making their minds up on a candidate.

The Pew Research Center poll was conducted by telephone from 1,206 voters between November 8-11. The sampling error was plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

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