Despite the poor job rating they now give President Carter, a 52-to-30 percent majority of voters nationwide still prefers that the person elected president in 1980 not be "part of the Washington, D.C., establishment." Jimmy Carter rode a strong wave of anti-Washington sentiment into the White House in 1976.
At the same time, voters would also like their next president to have a range of experience that can only be called "establishment."
By 74 to 18 percent, a majority wants a chief executive who is experienced in dealing with Congress, rather than someone "from the outside" who has not had that experience. When asked to rate Carter's performance to date in "dealing with Congress," the voting public is negative by 63 to 31 percent.
By 71 to 18 percent, a majority also thinks it is important for the next president "to have had a role in past or present U.S. foreign policy," rather than for him to be someone who has "not been part of past U.S. diplomatic efforts." As of the latest survey, Carter receives a 66 to 30 percent negative rating on his "handling of foreign policy matters."
By 55 to 34 percent, voters also prefer that their next president be "someone who has been a competent and experienced government executive," instead of "someone outside of the government bureaucracy." By a substantial 78 to 14 percent, most people hold the view that in some of the mistakes Carter has made, "his experience is plain to see."
By 64 to 27 percent, a majority prefers that the next president "be an effective politican" rather than someone from "outside the world of politics." This is a very significant finding. The decades of the 1970s have been marked by widespread disenchantment with all parts ot the establishment, particularly the political establishment.
Finally, by 62 to 26 percent, a majority is willing to settle for "someone who sounds like an ordinary citizen," rather than someone who is a "brilliant speaker on television."