Who Will Be the Next President? Who Cares

A majority of Americans think an increase in community volunteering would have a bigger impact than electing a president they agree with.

National Journal
Nancy Cook
Add to Briefcase
Nancy Cook
May 9, 2014, 2:35 a.m.

This art­icle is part of a series on the May 2014 All­state/Na­tion­al Journ­al Heart­land Mon­it­or poll.

Hil­lary Clin­ton or Ted Cruz? Rand Paul or Joe Biden? It may not mat­ter. The ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans be­lieve that an in­crease in com­munity act­iv­ism would have a more sig­ni­fic­ant im­pact on daily life than the can­did­ate they elect as pres­id­ent. 

That’s just one of the latest find­ings from the most re­cent All­state/Na­tion­al Journ­al Heart­land Mon­it­or Poll, which re­veals Amer­ic­ans’ pess­im­ism about the power of in­sti­tu­tions like the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to bring about change. 

Fifty-six per­cent of re­spond­ents told poll­sters that more vo­lun­teer­ing in their com­munity would have “a more pos­it­ive im­pact on [their] day-to-day life” than elect­ing a pres­id­ent who agrees with them on im­port­ant is­sues. Just 39 per­cent said that the elec­tion of a par­tic­u­lar pres­id­ent would have a great­er im­pact. 

Re­pub­lic­ans were far more likely than Demo­crats to place high­er value on the im­port­ance of whom they elect as pres­id­ent (by 53 to 34 per­cent). And young­er Amer­ic­ans, ages 18 to 29, had the most faith of any group in the im­pact of com­munity act­iv­ism — a full 73 per­cent said more com­munity vo­lun­teer­ing would bring about the greatest pos­it­ive change.

The re­sponses (and the pess­im­ism they re­veal about Amer­ic­ans’ at­ti­tudes to­ward the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment) fit with the rest of the poll, which shows that the ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans be­lieve the coun­try is on the wrong track. They also largely dis­ap­prove of the per­form­ance of both Con­gress and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The up­side of the polling res­ults? The ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans re­main con­fid­ent in their own abil­ity to bring about change in com­munit­ies both at the loc­al and the fed­er­al level. Re­spond­ents feel that com­munity groups, small busi­nesses, re­li­gious or­gan­iz­a­tions, av­er­age Amer­ic­ans, so­cial act­iv­ists, and state and loc­al gov­ern­ment hold the best chance of help­ing to tackle the coun­try’s ma­jor is­sues. That might ex­plain why even two-thirds of Amer­ic­ans who ap­prove of Pres­id­ent Obama’s per­form­ance in of­fice say com­munity vo­lun­teer­ing makes a big­ger dif­fer­ence. Obama star­ted out, after all, as a com­munity or­gan­izer.

Peter Bell contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
NRA Chief: Leftist Protesters Are Paid
1 days ago
Trump Still on Campaign Rhetoric
1 days ago
Trump Rails On Obamacare
1 days ago

After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."

Trump Goes After The Media
1 days ago

Donald Trump lobbed his first attack at the “dishonest media” about a minute into his speech, saying that the media would not appropriately cover the standing ovation that he received. “We are fighting the fake news,” he said, before doubling down on his previous claim that the press is “the enemy of the people." However, he made a distinction, saying that he doesn't think all media is the enemy, just the "fake news."

Report: Trump Asked FBI to Deny Russia Stories
1 days ago

"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.