Ever been election where both candidates were so disliked?

If this is covered in another thread please point me in that direction.
Pretty simple question. Obama I think is in the top half for likability, but those who don’t like him are pretty intense about it. And many of those who like him still don’t think he’s been a great president. Romney seems to be in the lower half of the range but still preferred over Obama. Has there ever been this much half-hearted support for the leading candidates? Ford-Carter is the one that comes to mind.

There hasn’t been an election like this since 2008.

Seriously, I haven’t seen anything in this election that falls outside of the usual range.

Sure, Gore v. Bush in 2000. Neither of them inspired much in the way of zeal.

Oh, yeah! Where the winner won the popular vote by negative half-a-million. Mandate!

I can think of very few elections where both candidates weren’t hated by a significant portion of voters. Nixon-Humphrey (and Wallace) in 1968 and Nixon-McGovern in 1972 made 2008 and this year look like a campaign for Homecoming Queen.

If you want half-hearted election campaigns, think about Bush-Dukakis in 1988. Other than the Willie Horton flap, that was a complete snoozefest.

Approval of Obama among Democrats is consistently extremely high. His own party is quite happy with him.

I guess I sense more voting against the other guy sentiment than voting for someone. Thinking of Bush-Gore I focused on the vote counting controversy, but that might be the tops in people voting against the candidates instead of for them. This election seems to have taken opponent hatred to a new level with those against Obama, and Romney has very weak personal support from his party. The things I hear directly from people supporting Romney seem to be very anti-Romney also. I do live near one of Romney’s home states, so that may be more prevalent in this area, but I have heard that from people around the country.

It does seem to almost always be choosing the lesser of two evils, I just sense fewer people actually strongly believing in the candidates themselves this time.

Bush-Kerry is the best example in my memory of a Presidential race where people were voting against the other guy rather then for their own candidate.

I think there’s still a decent chunk of the country that likes Obama because he’s Obama, granted a chunk that’s shrunk since 2008.

Romney seems more of a “lesser of two evils” candidate (though maybe if I lived in Utah I’d see it differently). I imagine that’s a function of running against an incumbent, his history as a liberal governor and the fact that he was sort of the “winner by default” in the GOP primary.

  1. I mean Kerry wasn’t particularly charismatic or interesting.

I agree it’s not reasonable to call Obama disliked just because those who do dislike him are so intense and hateful about it. His personal approval numbers have consistently been much higher than job performance approval (which has been very decent/average). That shows a guy who is generally well liked.

I was a bit disappointed with him then the REpublican reminded me what a great job Obama was doing.

That would be my choice too. Not being an American I can’t comment with any authority, but this one struck me as proving that something was fundamentally flawed in the process to select candidates.

I was travelling to the US a fair bit around that time. I met lots of really nice, intellegent, and switched-on people (including lots of successful business people, which seems to be an important criterion), and I just could not believe that those two were in any way the best candidates out of 300+ million Americans (not that there are that many eligible people of course, once you rule out the underage, not natural born citizens, etc.).

How about Kennedy and Nixon? Both were extremely unpopular in certain circles. Kennedy because he was certain to bow down to Rome and Nixon because he was so “tricky.”

Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 17% and the vote was basically a tie.

All candidates are unpopular in certain circles. Those circles vote for the other guy.

But I read the OP as asking about elections where both candidates weren’t only disliked by the other side, but their own side wasn’t very enthusiastic about them either.

I am looking at some combination of simple like/dislike percentage, and the degree of like/dislike. There’s also both likability and dislikability ratings. In this election I see the dislikability product of percentage and degree going very high for both candidates. That high dislike could have an interesting effect on the election. I think it’s clear that Romney has the very high dislikability product. For Obama, I may be misoverestimating his dislikability percentage. Maybe the product isn’t that high even with the high degree of dislikability.

This race seems more polarized because the anti-Obama rhetoric from the GOP has been steadfast for the entire first term (up to now).
That and the ‘echo chambers’ that are the Internet and talk radio have driven the level of respect to a new nadir.

Eisenhower was pretty popular too despite being Republican at the time.

Does the fact that his VP choice(LBJ) hated him count?

I don’t think either LBJ or Goldwater inspired much love in '64. “Vote for me, the other guy’s gonna blow up the world” doesn’t have a lot of positive resonance.

Choosing the lesser of two evils has been a constant in presidential politics. What may be a bit different this time is the number of people deciding they aren’t required to make that choice.

How about Humphrey-Nixon in 1968? If you voted for Humphrey, you were voting for the unrepentive VP in an administration that was waging a very unpopular war, and if you voted for Nixon, well, you were voting for Nixon. 'Nuff said.

Of course if you didn’t like either of those two choices, you could always cast your ballot for George Wallace.

All three choices, all well to the right of center.