From the start, the Republican presidential field for 2016 has been much more crowded than the Democratic field. But voters in each party have similar views of the quality of their party’s candidates.
Nearly six-in-ten (57%) Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say they have an excellent or good impression of their party’s presidential candidates. That compares with 54% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters who have positive impressions of the Democratic Party’s candidates.
Republicans are more positive about the GOP field than they were at nearly comparable points in the past two presidential campaigns. In May 2011, 44% of Republicans viewed the field of GOP candidates as excellent or good. In September 2007, 50% gave the presidential candidates positive marks.
Democrats are less positive about the current group of candidates than they were in September 2007, at a somewhat later point in the 2008 campaign. At that time, 64% said the Democratic candidates as a group were excellent or good. Throughout the fall of 2007 and early 2008, Democrats consistently expressed more positive views about their party’s candidates than Republicans did about theirs.
In September 2003, just 44% of Democrats and Democratic leaners gave positive ratings to their party’s field of candidates. At that time, the Democrats were challenging an incumbent president, as were the Republicans in 2011.