As usually happens at about this time in a race for president, some pundits are suggesting that large numbers of the electorate are not satisfied with the selection of candidates, or feel they are not fully addressing the key issues, or are dreaming of someone else to jump into the race (Al Gore?) or run as a third-party savior (Mike Bloomberg? Ron Paul?). Didn't Ross Perot get 19% of the vote in 1992 as an independent candidate, the last time the economy seemed to be falling apart? Reuters revealed today: "Consumer advocate Ralph Nader said on Monday he will decide soon on whether to make a another bid for the White House in 2008."
There's one big problem with these scenarios, Frank Newport, head of the Gallup organization, reports today: Voters are actually pretty darn happy with the choices they already have. The poll found, quite tellingly, that 84% answered yes when asked if there was alraedy someone running who would make a "good president." This compares with 71% in March 2000, 57% in May 1996 and 47% in April 1992.
After reviewing the January 10-13 Gallup poll, Newport concludes: "The data reviewed above suggest that the environment would not be nearly as propitious this year as it was for Perot that year. It is true that Americans are broadly dissatisfied this year with both the state of the nation and the economy, as they were in 1992. But Americans at this juncture seem much more willing to say that the current crop of candidates running in the major parties have discussed good solutions to the nation's problems and, as a result, there is a high level of satisfaction with those currently running. Thus, were Bloomberg to jump into the race, his first job would be to convince voters that he would bring to the table something that the major party candidates have not."
Almost 3 in 4 agree that the candidates as a group are "talking about issues you really care about." Again, this compares favorably with past races. And by a 58% to 36% margin, they say that one or more presidential candidates "have come up with good ideas for solving the country's problems."