June 15, 1988

The People, The Press, & Politics – Survey III

Report Summary

This is the third in a series of nationwide personal interview surveys commissioned by Times Mirror to assess the American electorate.  The People, The Press, and Politics series employs a unique voter classification scheme developed by Gallup for Times Mirror in 1987.  The overall purpose of these surveys is to better understand voter decisions with regard to candidates and issues.  the voter typology used in this survey is briefly described in the Technical Appendix and more fully described in previous reports available from Times Mirror.

The current survey deals with the first assessment of the Bush-Dukakis race utilizing the Times Mirror typology.  More specifically, it gauges opinions of the candidates, attitudes toward the parties, the Reagan Presidency, and takes measure of the overall mood of the electorate.  …….

This survey reveals an uncertain electorate that is divided both in current mood and with regard to retrospective evaluations of the Reagan administration.  We find a tension between a desire for change and a desire for continuity.  The coalitions that have formed with respect to the Dukakis and Bush candidacies reflect that tension.  In fact, underlying attitudes are shaping expressed electoral preferences to a greater degree than are specific beliefs about the two candidates.  …..

The Times Mirror typology provides a unique perspective on the current state of the race and the future course that it might take because it accounts for both party identification as well as the basic values and orientations of American voters.

For this survey, face-to-face personal interviews were administered to a nationally representative sample of 3,021 adults during the period from May 13-22, 1988.