Voters believe the 2012 presidential campaign was heavy on the mudslinging and light on the issues, according to a new poll from Pew Research Center released on Thursday.
The poll paints a portrait of an American electorate with much more negative attitudes toward the just-concluded race than four years ago. Fifty-one percent of voters believe that the discussion of issues in the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney was "less than usual," while 68 percent believe that the negative campaigning in the campaign was "more than usual."
Both numbers are higher than in Pew's survey following the 2008 campaign between Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). The negative assessment of this year's campaign colors voters' expectations for Washington in the years to come.
Similarly, voters do not have a particularly rosy outlook on national politics going forward. Fully 66% say that relations between Republicans and Democrats will either stay about the same (52%) or get worse (14%) over the next year. And while 56% of voters think Obama will be successful in his coming term, that is down from the 67% who thought his first term would be successful at this point four years ago.