Poll: Half Now Say Presidential Campaign too Negative

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Democrats' seemingly unending battle to pick a nominee for the White House is taking a toll on the public, with growing numbers saying this year's presidential campaign is too negative and has lasted too long.

More also say it's dull, according to a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

Half of those surveyed say the campaign has become too negative, up from 28 percent who said so in mid-February. The increase has been especially rapid among Democrats - 50 percent say it's too negative, while only 19 percent thought so in February.

The contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton turned especially heated in the weeks before Tuesday's primary in Pennsylvania, which Clinton won. She criticized Obama for saying small-town residents who are bitter about their economic hardships cling to guns and religion, while Obama accused her of being to close to special interests.

Even so, Democrats have been turning out in record numbers to vote in the primaries.

Despite that, 65 percent said the campaign has gone on too long, up from 57 percent in February.

Thirty-five percent think it is too dull, compared to 25 percent two months ago. About four in 10 Republicans find the campaign boring, compared to a quarter of Democrats.

The Democratic contest could continue until the final primaries on June 3.

John McCain clinched the GOP nomination last month.

The Pew poll involved telephone interviews with 1,009 adults and was conducted from April 18-21. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The margin of sampling error for subgroups is larger.

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