Likability = Electability?

In the last five presidential elections, the guy who was considered more likable won.  In the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, President Obama has a 30-point edge in likability, 60% to 30%.  But he is in a virtual tie with Mitt on actual votes.

When it comes to the issues, Mitt is viewed as “better” in all the economic ones — the budget deficit (55-36%), creating jobs (50 to 44%), taxes (49 to 45%), and the economy in general (51 to 41%).

They are tied when it comes to health care, 47 to 47%, which makes sense given that Obamacare is Romneycare.

Obama has the edge on foreign affairs, 52-40%, but very few voters make that their most decisive issue.

The Gallup polling summary concludes:  “For now, it appears as if Romney’s economic strengths and Obama’s likability edge are offsetting one another, as voters are evenly divided in their preferences for whom they want to be the next president.”  Emphasis added.

The economy isn’t going to get better between now and November.  But I doubt Mitt is going to get more likable.  And the electoral college map still favors Obama.

The bottom line for me is that this was the GOP’s election to lose, and it will take someone who is a caricature of phoniness, coldness, and cluelessness to give Obama a second term.

Wisconsin Doesn’t Really Like Mitt

Mitt won Wisconsin, but the exit polls don’t show much love for him as a person.

Voters were asked which quality mattered most to them:  Ability to defeat Obama, being a true conservative, having strong moral character, or having the right experience.

Mitt won on ability to defeat Obama and having the right experience, qualities that don’t reflect that much on him as a human being.  They reflect hope for what he can do in the future and respect for his business background in the past.  They are the two pragmatic categories among the four, the ones that don’t reflect likability.

Santorum lost overall by 10%, but he won on being a true conservative and having strong moral character, both of which are more about him as a person.  He was 34% ahead of Mitt on character and 48% ahead of Mitt on being a conservative.

Mitt has the nomination, but it’s a very grudging and reluctant coronation that doesn’t excite the base.  You know, those people who always turn out, who put up the yard signs, make the phone calls, etc.

Santorum’s toast, but really Mitt is too.

Um, Mitt, What Electability Argument?

Mitt’s main argument to GOP voters is, “You may not like me much, but I’m the best one to beat Obama.”  Really?  That’s not what the latest CNN poll of registered voters shows.  Although bear in mind that polls of registered voters aren’t as reliable as polls of likely voters.

The CNN poll shows Obama beating Mitt 54% to 43%.  Obama beats Santorum 55% to 42%, so not much difference between Mitt and Santorum as the GOP nominee.

Mitt is also like Santorum in having his favorables/unfavorables upside down.  Obama’s are positive — 56%/42%.  Mitt’s are 37%/49%, and Santorum’s are 35%/42%.  You don’t win when your favorables are in negative territory.

Obama Approval Down

In a new CBS/New York Times poll, President Obama’s approval rating dropped to 41% from the 50% he reached last month.

He’s running at 47 to 43 against Mitt, and 48 to 44 against Santorum.  That Tweedledum/Tweedledee result for the GOP hurts Mitt’s electability argument against Santorum.

The President is down among voters with lower incomes, which makes sense, since they feel higher gas prices the most.