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Evening Focus – Obama’s Advantage

April 19, 2012

Our Evening Focus

Evening Focus – Obama’s Advantage

President Obama has a big advantage over his opponent Mitt Romney. But you have to dig deeper than the horse-race numbers from the polls to see it. (More)


Now that the Republicans have chosen their nominee and polls have started to tighten (no, I’m not referring to Gallup or Rasmussen, but to the latest from Pew) we’re seeing something emerge that I think gives President Obama a strong advantage going forward. But you have to dig beyond the horse race numbers that are all the media tends to report.

I have to thank Steven Benen for putting this information from both the latest CNN and WaPo/ABC polls into graph form so its easy to read.

Here’s the details from CNN:

And here’s the same from WaPo/ABC:

What this tells us runs contrary to much of the media narrative about President Obama over the last few years. No, the American people don’t find him weak, elite, professorial and aloof. They find him likable, in touch with their concerns, inspiring, strong, and trustworthy.

While many of us who classify as political junkies tend to focus on the policy and process of this administration, these are the kinds of things low information voters count on to decide who to vote for. Some refer to this as “the guy you’d like to have a beer with” syndrome. But I think it goes deeper than that. It comes down to who you trust to be a good leader. And right now President Obama is beating Romney on that one by a mile.

Of course, this is exactly why folks like Karl Rove will go after President Obama on these very qualities. But I’m betting on the fact that the American people have had over 3 years of watching this President at work. They’ve made up their minds about him. It will be Romney’s job to find a way to pull up his own numbers on these kinds of things. So far, he’s not off to a great start on that one.

Cross-posted from Smartypants

  • NCrissieB

    Thank you for sharing this, Smartypants. Pundits are saying President Obama’s advantage in likeability is mostly because Mitt Romney isn’t well known yet. Maybe so, but I doubt it. That said, I don’t think this will be an easy election for Democrats. The economy is still growing very slowly, and other issues will also influence voters’ decisions. The most important thing we can do as grassroots Democratic activists is to build our volunteer base, reach out to voters in our communities, and GOTV in November.

  • winterbanyan

    Thanks so much for this, Smartypants. :) I don’t think Romney can overcome the likeability gap simply because he keeps demonstrating how out of touch he is. People don’t mind that he’s wealthy. They mind that he keeps saying things that prove he has no idea of the struggles the rest of us our facing.

    The horse-race meme provides pundits with a lot to fill the airwaves and that’s why they stick to it. Of course, this doesn’t mean we don’t have to work ourselves silly to prevent things from changing.

  • addisnana

    The other thing Obama has is grass roots- both contributors and volunteers. Romney’s money can’t buy a grassroots army and judging by my phone banking for OFA, Obama’s grassroots is ready, eager and willing. I’m not at all sure that the GOP will turn out for Romney as a grass roots army. If I had a spare $10,000 i’d bet against it.

  • Lake Toba

    Great essay SP. I think that you make a good point, in that voters will think “who will I sleep better at night knowing he is at the helm when something goes wrong?” Clearly Obama has that edge, and I think the election will reflect that assessment.