Andrew Kohut

Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, was Thursday's guest. He discussed the center's new survey of voter interest in the November election. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On the level of engagement among voters, especially with the Presidential race:

"A greater percentage [of registered voters] are expressing interest in politics than two or four years ago. More people are following campaign news, and this is translating into a public that is really focused on the election."

On why this is so:

"People think this election is more important than past elections. Today, 63 percent say it really matters who gets elected in the fall. That number was 45 [percent] four years ago. Voters see sharper differences between the candidates."

On voter attitudes that are less positive:

"A majority of Americans say they find the campaign dull. Already, about half of the Americans ... we polled describe the campaign as too long and excessively negative."

On the survey's implications for the Bush campaign:

"I would be concerned about moderate Republicans. The moderate and liberal Republicans - all four of them - are somewhat less enthusiastic. They may be the people who turn out to be the problem with [voter] turnout."

On the survey's implications for the Kerry campaign:

"He has his work cut out for him in taking the energy that exists among Democrats and ... making [it] not only negative against Bush but positive for [himself]."

- David Cook

The full Pew Research Center report is available at: http://www. people-press.org

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