Words Used to Describe 2012 GOP Field: Unimpressive, Stubborn, Dinosaurs

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REUTERS / Larry Downing

The Pew Research Center and the Washington Post teamed up to find out how America feels about the current (possible) candidates for the Republican party’s 2012 bid. The top response was unimpressive, perhaps because it was the most polite way to say many of the other words on the list.

Researchers surveyed 1,000 people—a pretty even mix of Republicans, Democrats and Independents—with this question: “Thinking about the candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination, if you had to use one single word to describe your overall impression of this group of candidates, what would that one word be?” The question was left open-ended, with no suggestions given, and researchers grouped variations on a word (e.g., dislike/don’t like/unlikeable) together in their count. Of the top five responses, only one was positive: unimpressive (42), disappointing (21), weak (21), good (18), and incompetent (17). Other popular responses included pathetic, unqualified, idiots, confusing and hopeful. Multiple people also put it simply as “blah.”

(GRAPHIC: Mark Halperin Weighs the GOP Odds)

The researchers assigned all the responses to either positive (12%), negative (44%) or neutral (19%) categories, and those who gave no answer made up 25%. When broken down by party, both Republicans and Democrats still gave more negative than positive responses, though Democrats, of course, came up with the bulk of unflattering words.

NewsFeed obtained a full list of the responses, which are only summarized on the Pew website. They ranged from the dead literal (politicians, numerous) to the unhelpfully random (pornography, protoplasm, monkey) to the somewhat-irrelevant-but-telling (economy, Medicare, deficit, jobs). And many responses give us an idea of who has been successfully dominating the media (female, rich). Keep in mind that these words aren’t necessarily representative of a broad sentiment (since they were the exceptions rather than the rule), but the variety still gives us some insight into public opinion. Here’s a selection:

  • who?
  • clowns
  • dinosaurs
  • scattered
  • hackneyed
  • bunch of bologna
  • stubborn
  • negative
  • fame
  • aggressive
  • white
  • determined
  • mild
  • patriotic
  • clueless
  • guarded
  • shaky
  • forget it
  • refreshing
  • battered
  • insensitive
  • circus
  • untested
  • unelectable
  • ambivalent
  • here we go again
  • solid
  • not conservative enough
  • too early
  • wingnuts
  • excess
  • a bunch of jerks
  • waiting

(MORE: Full Political Coverage at Swampland)