The conventional wisdom on one side is that likability doesn’t matter. After all, Richard Nixon got elected twice. The conventional wisdom on the other side is that likability, in fact, does matter. After all, every president that has been more likable has won the presidential election since 1980.
Either way, the Gallup poll out today continues the trouble for Mitt Romney on likability. He’s down almost 2-to-1 on the issue, which continues the theme that we’ve seen in other polls — like the ABC/Washington Post poll that found him to be the least likable candidate in 30 years.
There’s no question likability has some affect on elections. As Frank Newport, editor in chief of Gallup, said, sometimes when a voter goes into the booth, their choice boils down to nothing more than a high-school popularity contest.
“A lot of voting is instinctual, based on patterns, and it can be just related to one’s broad impression of the candidate,” said Frank Newport, the editor in chief at Gallup.
Of course, the big thing for Romney is the last line. Here’s what Newport writes in his analysis:
Romney’s likability deficit presents a challenge for his campaign as it attempts to shape his image with voters. The campaign can attempt to increase perceptions of Romney as a likable person, or concede that dimension to Obama and try to emphasise other aspects of Romney’s character and record on which he is more competitive with Obama, such as perceived managerial competence.
Just don’t make another video about how cool Obama is.
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