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How Do Voters Really Feel This Election? We Asked

This week, NPR asked voters around the country how they are feeling about this election, and why so many tell us they are anxious or angry.

There are real issues and shifts behind that anxiety, as National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson reported on Monday, including stalled incomes, fears of terrorism and a changing country. The conversation continued on public radio stations around the country and on Facebook and Twitter.

We heard from listeners who do feel angry, and others who explained why they feel excited, disappointed or hopeful. Here are some of the responses we received:

'Don't have control'

"People feel that they don't have any control over the process. They have this overwhelming sense — whether they're on the right or the left of the spectrum — that elites are controlling the levers of power, and that they don't have a say. Whether they perceive those elites to be political or economic." — Melissa Ross, WJCT in Jacksonville


"The No. 1 thing we heard was Trump. Everybody that we talked to was anxious about Trump and equal to that people were anxious about the media as it pertained to Trump. ... they were anxious about other things that Trump was exploiting, they were anxious about being disconnected from each other." — Carrie Kaufman, KNPR in Las Vegas

'Working hard is no guarantee'

"I'm in Brevard County, Fla. We send people into space yet we have one of the poorest census tracts in the state, if not the country. We have high-paying jobs in the space industry and minimum wage jobs, not a lot in between. Our unemployment is no longer high but underemployment is a serious problem. ... So the short answer is anger. Anger at a broken system, a do-nothing Congress, and the feeling that working hard is no guarantee that you will get ahead." — Brenda Warner


"It's exciting. People are frustrated and ready for real change. People are tired of the candidates representing the party establishment and lobbyists, instead of the people. This is why Bernie Sanders is doing well, and I believe will be our next president. Integrity matters." — Christopher Wood


"I am saddened by both sides of the aisle having been reduced to name calling and more mud slinging that I can ever recall. I don't care if you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, this isn't recess and the electorate isn't a playground. Grow up, look at the issues and forget party partisan politics for a moment and vote for the one person who you believe can make a difference; not comply with popular opinion or political correctness." — Marcus Roberson


"I hate it. I hate this entire thing. I've never felt so turned off by the political process. Campaigns started so early, and now I'm completely burned out four months before my state's primary. All the candidates (Dem and Repub) just talk and talk and talk without saying anything." -- Marie Meeks


"I am very hopeful about the upcoming election. I think we finally have a chance to save our system. In my experience, my generation (millennials) are fed up with how badly previous generations have screwed up our system, and how politicians and special interests have been able to game the system." -- T.R. Salsman

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Amita Kelly is a Washington editor, where she works across beats and platforms to edit election, politics and policy news and features stories.
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