US voters value honesty above common sense
Survey Results
Date Published: 
Thu, 01/11/2012 - 15:06
  • American voters rank honesty as the most important value in a future president (32%)
  • Three in 10 said they changed their mind about who to vote for on the day of a presidential election in the past (29%)

With less than a week to go before the US Election, a new study by Opinium Research and the ECREP initiative at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) reveals that a third of American voters (32%) rank honesty as the most important quality they would like to see in a future president. This was closely followed by ‘intelligence’ (31%), while values such as ‘common sense’ and ‘experience’ were only chosen by one in ten (9%) US voters.

The survey also found that 29% of respondents reported that they had previously changed their mind about who to vote for on the day of a presidential election. The results show that only half of Americans intend to vote in polling stations on the day of the election (52%), while 17% intend to vote in advance and 23% intend to mail their ballot.

The study developed a model of ‘voter identity’ that distinguishes between voters who behave as ‘referees’ and ‘players’. Referees are quite detached in election and see them as a time when they need to arbitrate between various competitors, while players see themselves as part of a ‘camp’ which they want to win the election. The findings show that the USA electorate is split almost equally between referees and players, with a slight majority of the former.

Notes to Journalists: 

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2000 American adults aged 18+ between 20th and 24th October 2012.

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