The Post-Hope Election
Hope and change were the words of 2008
. What of 2012? Pew reports on a post-election survey:
Overall, Obama still elicits more positive than negative feelings among voters but these reactions are less positive than they were in 2008. A 54% majority says the president makes them feel hopeful, down from 69% in 2008. A similar percentage (53%) says Obama makes them feel proud, down 12 points from four years ago.
Currently, 41% say Obama makes them feel uneasy, up from 35% in 2008. And the percentage saying the president makes them feel angry has roughly doubled, from 9% four years ago to 21% today.
Fully 45% of Republicans say Obama makes them feel angry, up sharply from 17% in 2008. Feelings of unease with Obama also have increased among Republicans, from 68% in 2008 to 81% today. Just 10% of Republicans say Obama makes them feel hopeful and 13% say he makes them feel proud, which also are much lower than in 2008.
By a slim 52% to 45% margin more say they are happy than unhappy that Barack Obama was reelected president. This reaction is not as positive as in 2008 when more said they were happy than unhappy by a 58% to 35% margin. However, these views are on par with reactions to Bush’s reelection in 2004 and Clinton’s in 1996.
Voters also are more likely to say they are happy than unhappy that Democrats maintained control of the U.S. Senate and that Republicans maintained control of the U.S. House.
When voters are asked for a single word that describes their reaction to Obama’s victory, the top word among Obama voters is “relieved,” far more than expressed this in 2008. Far fewer say they are hopeful than did so four years ago (when that was the second most common reaction among Obama voters). Similar to 2008, a substantial number expressed their positive reaction with words like ‘”happy,” “excited” and “elated.”
Romney voters responded to Obama’s win much like McCain voters did in 2008. The overwhelming response among Republican voters in both elections was disappointment. Romney voters also said they were “disgusted,” “shocked,” “surprised,” “fearful” and “sad.”