POLLSTER: Only 37 Percent Of Americans Following Election Closely

Republicans care more about the election, Dems care more about their candidate.

By + More
New_York_Polls_120530_3.jpg
A polling station in an apartment building in New York.

The election is still almost five months away, and yet every day a poll is released updating the American public about which candidate is leading in the presidential horserace.

(Today, Bloomberg found President Obama leading Mitt Romney 53 to 40 percent among likely voters; yesterday, Gallup found Romney with a lead of 2 percent.)

Almost every day political blogs jump on the newest development — from a spelling mistake to a press conference "gaffe" — and say it could move the needle on the election.

And almost daily someone is predicting the outcome of the race, whether it's a social media predictor, interactive graphic, astrologer or pundit.

But do most Americans even care?

Not yet, according to a May/June Rasmussen survey, which found that only 37 percent of Americans were following the election closely.

That means only about 1/3 of possible voters care about the echo chamber that is the current coverage of the election.

[See: Latest political cartoons]

"A lot of people are waiting to tune in until after Labor Day," pollster Scott Rasmussen told Whispers. "Political reporters get caught up on every small thing, you know they want to say something different every day. But most of the things that get brought up in a campaign—the Ann Romney flap, even Obama's immigration announcement—they hardly move perceptions."

In the same survey, Rasmussen found that Republicans and senior citizens were currently following the election far more closely than Democrats and younger possible voters.

Another indication that Americans at this point just don't care: Gallup recently found that more than half of Americans did not recognize the names of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, two possible VP picks for Romney.

Most Americans had never heard of Romney's old private equity firm, Bain Capital, either, according to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

Last week, Obama similarly told diners at a fundraiser at the Franklin Institute that most Americans weren't paying attention to the election: "They're not following ... the ups and downs, the ins and outs of this campaign. But they do have a sense of what's true." According to Rasmussen, Obama is mostly right about that.

But while most Americans aren't following the ups and downs, the ones that are following them are pretty focused on the president, not his opponent.

"The really interesting thing we found," Rasmussen said, "is that Republicans were excited about the campaign, but not their candidate, and Democrats were excited about their candidate."

  • Bloomberg Poll: Obama Has Double-Digit Lead
  • Poll: Romney Takes Lead in North Carolina
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy.
  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at eflock@usnews.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.