Illustration for article titled Nobody is Paying Attention to the Presidential Race Yet
Photo: Matthew Putney (AP Photo)

The first Democratic presidential debates are this Wednesday and Thursday, and while the first contest is still eight months away, it feels like the race has been in full-throttle for eight years at this point.

After all, we’ve already gone through Lord knows how many Joe Biden gaffes and heard every conceivable policy proposal from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and holy shit, another Joe? But as a recent Associated Press-NORC Center poll of Democratic voters revealed, the average citizen would love a candidate with experience in elected office.


Also, they don’t really know what the hell is going on right now.

Just 22 percent of the 1,116 voters interviewed said that they know a lot about the various positions of their party’s candidates; 62 percent admitted they “know a little.” That lines up with the 65 percent of voters that responded they have been paying some or no attention to the onslaught of updates. (Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak’s announcement was automatically routed to my spam folder, so that absolutely tracks.)

Take this account from one undecided voter:

“It’s kind of a blur,” said Maggie Banks, 32, of suburban Denver, who has two young children and only has a chance to glean a few details about the race while listening to National Public Radio during her commute.

Banks said she has only a “vague” idea of who’s running and didn’t realize her state’s senior senator, Michael Bennet, or former governor, John Hickenlooper, were in the race.


In fairness to Maggie, I’m not entirely sure Hickenlooper knows either.

While it might not be the greatest sign for 2020, as someone required to stare at the political news all day, it actually feels somewhat refreshing to be reminded that nobody is paying attention. Maybe this will finally provide some solid evidence that Americans are tired of the never-ending campaign, and both parties will agree to shorten election season. Probably not, though.

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