Satisfaction with the choice of presidential candidates is low—considerably lower than in the 2008 and 2012 elections, our most recent survey shows.
Unlike 2012—when satisfaction with the choice of candidates increased as the election approached—satisfaction has been declining. This is not a view unique to California. A recent report by the Pew Research Center found that only 33% of registered voters nationwide were very or fairly satisfied with the choices of presidential candidates.
Compared with the last two presidential elections, satisfaction with candidate choices is down by more than 20 percentage points among California Democratic, Republican, and independent likely voters. Indeed, today only 28% of California’s independent likely voters are satisfied with their choice of candidates.
Among California likely voters, supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are equally likely to say they are not satisfied with the choices of presidential candidates—48% of Clinton supporters and 49% of Trump supporters express this view.
Who are these unsatisfied supporters? Notably, 30% of unsatisfied Clinton supporters are between 18 and 34 years old.
Among Trump supporters, there is a difference when it comes to views on immigration policy. Unsatisfied Trump supporters are much more likely than satisfied supporters to say that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country legally if certain requirements are met (59% to 43%).
These low levels of satisfaction with the candidates could have repercussions on voter turnout in California. We will have to wait and see if the two remaining debates make voters feel more satisfied with the choices before them or if they choose to voice their dissatisfaction by avoiding the ballot box.