Elections

Most see ‘16 producing a good president, but optimism down from ‘08, ‘00

Most people see 2016 as producing a “quality president,” Gallup found, though they’re not as enthusiastic about the field as they were in 2008 or 2000.
Most people see 2016 as producing a “quality president,” Gallup found, though they’re not as enthusiastic about the field as they were in 2008 or 2000. AP

People see 2016 as producing a “quality president,” but not as many feel that way as they did the last two times no incumbent ran.

Gallup Friday reported that two-thirds of Americans saw at least one presidential candidate in the current field who would make a good president. But that’s down from 84 percent at this time in 2008 and 75 percent in January, 2000, the last two years no incumbent sought the White House.

Incumbent presidents George W. Bush in 2008 and Bill Clinton in 2000 were completing their second terms and could not run again.

This year’s feeling about the presidential choices was bipartisan. “Republicans and Democrats are equally likely to say they could see a 2016 candidate become a good president,” Gallup reported.

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They’re also less positive about how the current presidential campaign “reflects on the overall electoral system,” Gallup said, a trend that was first seen about four years ago.

Partisans, though, do tend to like their choices. Roughly three-fourths of Republicans and Democrats seem pleased with their party’s fields. Those figures are down from 2008, when 85 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats agreed they had choices who would make good presidents.

Independents, a growing force in American politics, had the biggest dip. Fifty-eight percent this year said they were pleased with the field, down from 78 percent eight years ago.

David Lightman: 202-383-6101, @lightmandavid

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